Brothers drop new anchor in Uphams Corner

Butcher Ramón Perez shows off some choice cuts at Brother's Supermarket in Uphams Corner.: Photo by Pete Stidman. Click to enlargeButcher Ramón Perez shows off some choice cuts at Brother's Supermarket in Uphams Corner.: Photo by Pete Stidman. Click to enlargeThere are benefits to having a large family. One of them, it seems, is a set of natural partners in the business world.

That is definitely the case for the Fernandez brothers, who just opened their second Brother's Supermarket on Dudley Street in Uphams Corner last month. The six brothers each have a role in managing or working at one or more of their three liquor stores and two groceries in Roxbury and Dorchester.

"If everything goes well, hopefully, it will be really good for us and the community too," said Ambiori Fernandez, who manages the new store with his brother German Fernandez. "A lot of people still don't know we're here. April is our grand opening."

The handsomely decked out store comes close to replacing the variety of goods sold by the former America's Food Basket grocery that held the location next door, where a CVS is now located. But it goes beyond AFB in some ways, such as a much newer appearance and a true butcher's counter.

"The way we sell meat here is what differentiates us from a lot of other convenience-type stores," said Fernandez. "A lot of other stores have everything pre-packaged."

"The milk prices are good, that's a good price," said Bruna Bissette, a long-time resident of the area who was carefully comparing prices with a friend at the store on Tuesday. "And we bought corn meal too, that's good."

Bissette, a hardcore bargain shopper, said she does most of her shopping at Market Basket in Somerville. But she said she'd be coming to Brother's for vegetables and daily needs.

"Now that we know they have all this meat here," she said, "we'll come in and get it."

For Uphams Corner's business district, the new store has been a long time coming, a much needed anchor that was first chosen for the spot in October 2007.

"The community's been waiting for this store to open ever since the America's Food Basket closed, said Zach Cohen, who directs the Uphams Corner Main Streets organization. "We knew about two years ago that it was coming. Now that it's open I think the entire community is excited about it. It's just going to help create more foot traffic and a more lively feeling on Dudley Street and the entire district. And it looks beautiful inside."

Cohen also points to a handful of events happening at the historic Strand Theater, where renovations are due to be finished soon, and plans for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center further down Dudley Street as signs of good things to come for Uphams businesses.

Fundraising at the Kroc Center is at a critical stage, according to Jack Peters Jr., who is heading up the capital campaign.

"We are approximately $1.5 million away from breaking ground," said Peters this week. "The environment is not friendly, let's put it that way, but we have six major funders that we've been in talks with for a couple of weeks now, and a few others... The good news is we've raised $2.5 million in the past few weeks or so."

All next week WROR will be helping to promote a "buy a brick to pave the way for the Kroc Center" campaign for the effort. Bricks will cost around $105.



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