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Rozzie & Me: Seymore Green

The Rozzie & Me blog series is guest-written by RVMS Marketing Committee Volunteer Kelly Ransom. Kelly will be interviewing residents, business-owners, and folks from all walks-of-life who make Roslindale a special place to live and work. 

Did you know you can get a custom-made t-shirt right in Roslindale? Seymore Green has been in business for ten years at 35 Poplar Street and can provide you with all your custom t-shirt printing needs. Today, we are talking with the owner and namesake of the store, Seymore Green, about how being a small business owner is in his DNA and why he chose to open his store in Roslindale.

Kelly: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Seymore: Originally, I am from the Brigham Circle area of Mission Park. Now, I live in Hyde Park. My business has been in Roslindale for ten years.

K: Tell me about your store, Seymore Green.
S: I started in 2005. I started off selling cellphones and putting ringtones on people’s phones before you could download ringtones. It was a big business. It was before smartphones. It was a good time for cell phones back then. After that, I learned how to make custom t-shirts to keep the business going because the cell phone game died. I had to change my game plan. 

K: Why did you decide to start your own business?
S: It took me 37 years, but I realized that I am not capable of working for someone else. My mother helped me get my first job at Brigham and Woman when I was 16. About six months in, my mother asked the boss how I was doing, and the boss replied, ‘He walks around like he owns the place.’ It was a good and bad thing. It motivated me, but it also made me wonder why I was working for someone else. I hate those experiences where the employees are so scared of their boss that they bite their tongues. I’ve never wanted that experience in my life so that is how I knew I wasn’t going to be able to work for someone else.

My whole life I have been studying business. I have a great understanding of buy, sell, supply and demand. I went to school for business. I think business has always been in my soul. I think the only way that you can be self-sufficient is to start your own business. It was just in my DNA.

K: How did you come about designing custom t-shirts?
S: I wanted to be more creative. I didn’t want to create shirts and then outsource them. I like to do everything myself. I am very hands-on and it is more rewarding to me to do things myself.

K: What made you decide to open your business in Roslindale?
S: Back in 1998, I used to frequent the space where my store is now. It was called ‘Sight and Sound.’ I used to go there and buy records, posters, and practical joke toys. I was a fan of the store for many years. Lo and behold now it is mine with a different sight and a new sound.

K: What kinds of goods and services have you been providing lately?
S: As far as t-shirts go, I provide a lot of custom made t-shirts for the community. I make a lot of rest in peace t-shirts for people who want to memorialize their loved ones who have passed. I specialize in that. People can get t-shirts, buttons, and they can get one shirt or one hundred shirts. People come in with their own designs for shirts for their family reunions, sports teams, and companies. It is a variety of occasions but whatever the need is, I can make a shirt for it.

K: Have you noticed with the laws changing that you have been more lucrative in the smoke shop side of things?
S: I’ve definitely been more lucrative. People feel safer now and they don’t feel embarrassed to go into a smoke shop anymore. In time, I think it will become just as common as going into a liquor store.

K: Do you have plans in the future to evolve the smoke shop concept even more?
S: I would like to be able to deliver to people who don’t like to leave the house or can’t because they are sick. I would also like to educate people on how to start their own business. I feel like I could impart good ideas and knowledge to aspiring entrepreneurs because I have 13 years in the business.

K: Have you noticed if most of your customers are residents of Roslindale or do they seem to be from all over Boston?
S: I think they are from all over Boston but especially the surrounding towns like Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and JP.

K: Besides your store, do you have a favorite place in Roslindale?
S: 753 South has a great atmosphere and the food is even better.

K: Do you have a favorite annual Roslindale event?
S: I like the Roslindale Day Parade and I like the Farmers Market. The Farmers Market brings a lot of different people to the community. I think Roslindale is the best of both worlds between Boston and Cambridge. I love living near and working in Roslindale.

K: What would you like to see happen in Roslindale in the future?
S: I would like to see more camaraderie between the businesses. I think it would be nice to have a program where if you went into one business you are offered a discount at another business -- like a partnership. Maybe you could go into a restaurant, but be able to hear and learn more about Seymore Green or the local bank or something like that.

Visit Seymore Green and meet the man himself:

Seymore Green
35 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA 02131