City’s ‘Legacy’ awards highlight small businesses in Dot, Mattapan

At Vaughn’s Fish and Chips on Erie Street, Clarence Vaughn Rowell, Jr. and his mother, Marilyn, above, staff the kitchen and pump out fried fish and even chicken gizzards – among other tasty items. They dedicated their Legacy award to the store’s founder, Clarence Vaughn Rowell Sr., who purchased Cathy’s Fish at the same location from a relative in 1987. Seth Daniel photo

Last Tuesday (June 4), 30 Boston businesses were honored at the second annual Legacy Business Awards, a program intended to promote and enhance family-owned enterprises across the neighborhoods.

After a selection process by the Wu administration and the City Council, seven of the businesses recognized were Dorchester- and Mattapan-based, shining a spotlight on the community including: Restaurant Cesaria, Rosa’s Liquors, Vaughn’s Fish and Chips, the Dorchester Reporter, Family Hardware Corp., Walnut Deluxe Cleaners and Tailors, and William Browne & Sons.

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Family Hardware on Blue Hill Avenue has been a staple in the Prescod family and the community, with siblings George Prescod, Kimberly Thomas, and Natalie Santos now operating the business. Here, Kimberly Thomas poses with her husband, Patrick Thomas, at last week's ceremony.
Photo courtesy of Mayor's Office/Mike Mejia.

“The Legacy Business program is one of my favorite things that I get the chance to participate in with our admin because you are really the heart and soul of our communities and our neighborhoods.” Mayor Wu said during a speech at an evening event held at the Calderwood Pavilion in the South End.

During the ceremony, each business was given a chance for individual applause along with a commemorative photo with Wu and the city’s chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, Segun Idowu. Each award comes with technical assistance from the city and a one-time $30,000 grant for operations.

“You have all nurtured these dreams for more than a decade and in turn have flourished and given back to our community,” Wu said to the business owners sitting in front of her.

For Tony Barros and Jose Fonseca-Brandao of Restaurante Cesaria, they have been nurturing their business on 266 Bowdoin St. for more than two decades. Barros, Fonseca-Brandao, and two other former owners opened their Cape Verdean restaurant in 2002. It serves a variety of dishes that Barros likes to classify as international, ranging from lobster Cajun pasta to Frango Assado.

“We are proud of the work that we’re doing right in the community,” Barros said. “Not only the Cape Verdean community but all the different cultures and being discovered by different walks of life.”

At Vaughn’s Fish and Chips, Clarence Vaughn Rowell, Jr. and his mother, Marilyn, staff the kitchen and pump out fried fish and even chicken gizzards – among other tasty items. They dedicated the Legacy award to their founder, Clarence Vaughn Rowell Sr. – who purchased Cathy’s Fish at the same location from a relative in 1987 and, with no experience, established a following at the Erie Street shop.

“We cooked a lot at home and we had a lot of family dinners and get togethers, but as far as fish and chips – we didn’t know nothing about it. It was the blind leading the blind,” said Marilyn, who noted she also has a daughter, Tikia, not in the business.

Added Vaughn, Jr, “I’ve been here since I was five and grew up in this business,” said Vaughn Jr. “Every day it was my mom, pops and me coming here, or my pops and me would come, and my mom would come later. I wanted to continue in the business because I grew up in it and I wanted to keep going what my father started.”

More than 60 percent of the businesses receiving awards this year are owned by people of color, including Family Hardware Co. on Blue Hill Avenue. Started in 1986 by George and Pauline Prescod, the store is now run by three of their six children: Natalie Santos, George Prescod, and Kimberly Thomas. The business was originally located on 995 Blue Hill Ave., but recently moved to 1106 Blue Hill Ave.

“We strive to foster healthy relationships in and out of the store environment,” said Santos. “We understand the importance of providing professional customer service and learning the needs of our community. Our father and mother embedded ideas of family, love, entrepreneurship, generational wealth, and legacy.”

“Through our work, we are building the next set of Legacy Businesses here in Boston,” Porcena said.

Another of this year’s honorees, The Dorchester Reporter, was founded in 1983 by Ed Forry and his wife, Mary Casey Forry. The Reporter is now owned and published by Bill Forry and his wife, former state representative and senator Linda Dorcena Forry. Ed Forry, 79, accepted the award on behalf of the family-run newspaper staff, which also includes his daughter, Maureen Forry-Sorrell.

The Reporter is currently observing its 41st year in business.

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Attendees line up with the Dorchester Reporter’s proprietors at the Legacy Awards announcement. From left, Councillor Henry Santana, Rep. Chris Worrell, Councillor John FitzGerald, Main Streets Director Eric Esteves, Aliesha Porcena, director of Small Business, Reporter Co-Publisher Linda Dorcena Forry, Segun Idowu, chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, Reporter Co-Publisher Bill Forry, Reporter Founder Ed Forry, Mayor Michelle Wu, and Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley. Photos courtesy Mayor’s Office/Mike Mejia


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