Sandra Larson has been writing for the Bay State Banner since 2009 and has contributed more than 100 stories on urban issues, including extensive coverage of foreclosure, affordable housing, minority jobs issues, and the city’s revitalization plans for Dudley Square in Roxbury. For the Banner and for Exhale Magazine, she has interviewed and profiled many prominent women, among them author Isabel Wilkerson, playwright Lydia Diamond, FACE Africa founder Saran Kaba Jones, former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, and Massachusetts first lady Diane Patrick. Sandra holds a bachelor’s degree in biological aspects of conservation and a master’s degree in journalism. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in urban and regional policy. She lives in Boston with her husband and 12-year-old son.
Fourteen local black-owned technology and innovation companies showcased new products and services at last week’s Mass Innovation Nights product launch and networking event in Grove Hall.
The 11th annual YouthCAN Climate and Sustainability Summit, organized by the Boston Latin School Youth Climate Action Network (BLS YouthCAN) in partnership with the MIT Technology and Culture Forum, was held May 13 at the MIT Stata Center in Cambridge. The day-long event, free and open to the public, drew some 240 youth representing at least 38 public and private schools in Greater Boston and surrounding suburbs.
As an entrepreneur and a tradeswoman, Ronnette Taylor-Lawrence has been a trailblazer. Starting as a young single mother in the 1980s, she worked her way up from laborer to journeyman plumber, becoming the first woman of color to receive her plumber’s license from the Plumbers and Gasfitters Local 12 Boston union. Today, she is a master plumber and fire sprinkler contractor running her own business, Fire Code Design, a Boston-based full service fire extinguisher and fire safety company offering sales, repairs and service to commercial and residential clients.
Santander Bank this week announced “Cultivate Small Business,” a pilot initiative designed to assist women-, minority- and immigrant-owned businesses in food-related industries. The program’s focus is on helping to fill gaps in networking, mentorship, training and access to capital in order to smooth the path to business success, a path that can be particularly rocky for entrepreneurs starting out with few resources.
When Eddy Firmin was ready to start his own restaurant after spending years in the corporate world and as a restaurant co-owner, he created the kind of place he would want to go to. “This is me,” he says, sitting recently in the dining room of Savvor, the restaurant and lounge he opened in downtown Boston in 2014. “It’s stuff I like to eat — good food, nothing crazy. Our recipes come from all over — from my mother, from family members, borrowed from a lot of places.”
Inside Out Fitness Concepts founder Joe Sumrell traces his interest in physical fitness way back, probably to age 6 when his mother started him in judo classes. Throughout his school years, he played just about every sport available. Later on, he took up competitive bodybuilding and earned the shelves full of trophies that line IOFC’s walls and storefront on Dudley Street in Roxbury. And at 58, Sumrell still competes in track and field, where he is ranked nationally and internationally in multiple events.
Jamaican food chain’s next Boston site will be in Dudley Square
Mattapan residents, Greater Boston’s Caribbean community, local elected officials celebrated the grand opening of Boston’s first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill on Saturday.
For Domingos DaRosa, the record-breaking 2015 winter sowed the seeds for a new business. He started DaRosa Property Maintenance LLC in 2015. The 39-year-old father of four had been helping his parents, neighbors and friends for years with snow removal and other odd jobs. When those extraordinarily snowy months hit, his phone started ringing. He purchased snow blowers and gathered some helpers, mostly family members. Within two weeks, he says, he had customers across eastern Massachusetts — Taunton, Easton, Billerica — all through word-of-mouth referrals.
At Eye & Eye Optics, owner Bobin Nicholson wants the experience of choosing the right eyeglass frames to be as enjoyable and relaxing as the reggae music he loves. In 2010, the Dorchester resident purchased the former Peters Optical business in the Lower Mills neighborhood and retrofitted the shop to reflect his style and create a full-service eye care facility with an ophthalmologist on staff.
Entrepreneur takes a DIY approach to building a business
Inside a tiny storefront on Jamaica Plain’s South Street, the light-filled interior of Faith’s Naturals feels surprisingly spacious. White walls, a high white tin-paneled ceiling and light-toned wood shelves, coupled with a few deep-pink accents, create an inviting look to the narrow space. Neatly arranged on the shelves are jars and bottles of face and body scrubs, oils, soaps and hair care products, all handmade by owner Faithlyn Scarlett with plant-based ingredients such as flaxseed extract, arrow root powder, aloe vera gel extract, coconut oil, honey, lemon juice and crushed oats.