Business Profile: Fornax Bread Company

Fornax Bread Company Business Profile

THIS IS PART FOUR OF A FIVE-PART SERIES OF PHOTOS AND PROFILES OF BUSINESSES IN ROSLINDALE VILLAGE. RVMS PHOTOGRAPHER, BRUCE SPERO, AND RVMS PROGRAM MANAGER, KELSIE EVANS, ARE VISITING FIVE BUSINESSES AROUND THE VILLAGE TO CAPTURE SOME OF WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES. VIEW MORE PHOTOS HERE.

Looking at the extensive menu of over fifty breads, pastries, and soups and sandwiches, it’s hard to imagine that Fornax Bread Company started with just five items over twenty years ago. “The sourdough boule is our signature and what we opened with,” said co-owner Chris Fallon. “At that time, there was no wall between the front of house and the kitchen, so we’d be working at the prep table, and when people came in, we’d stop to wait on them. They’d ask for other pastries, coffee, and this and that, so we started to expand.”

Chris opened Fornax in 1997 with his brother Gregg, and now owns the bakery with his wife, Kimberly. “When Fornax opened, I still worked downtown on weekdays, so Chris would set out a can in front and people would pay for bread, coffee, and scones and he’d bake,” she said.

Kimberly, whose background is in landscape architecture, joined the team full-time and helped expand the pastry program. “We’d start with twelve English muffins and ask, ‘will these sell?’” Kimberly explained. Kimberly enjoys the creativity of baking. “I used to just make cakes for fun, but people kept calling and there was nowhere else to go for a custom cake, so we filled a gap. It  was a sign of a changing Roslindale when foot traffic increased, that we can sell this variety of items.”

Chris has a long history in the restaurant industry. “I worked in restaurants in high school and college and just loved it. After graduation, I went back to working in restaurants.” He and Kimberly moved to Denver, where he was a chef at a local restaurant. When their baker left to open his own bakery, Chris went with him. “Baking was something I didn’t know much about, so I worked as his apprentice, with the goal of learning as much as I could and then moving back to Massachusetts, since both Kimberly and I are from here.”

Going from apprentice to opening his own bakery was harder than he thought. “When you run kitchens, you know management, mixing, and how to bake, so that’s not a big leap, but the hours are a lot,” said Chris.

They ended up in Roslindale Village, which was very different at the time. “When we were looking for a place to live, Roslindale was affordable, wonderful, close to the Arboretum (we’re dog owners), and close to public transportation. But twenty years ago, there were a lot of grated storefronts,” said Chris. “The neighborhood had good bones,” interjected Kimberly. “I like that it’s a square, instead of one long street, and there are a lot of cool places.”

Chris and Kimberly have been a fixture in Roslindale Village ever since. “It is satisfying to walk to work and feel like a part of the community,” says Kimberly. “I like knowing I’m baking for my neighbors.” For Chris, satisfaction “comes from my family. We work together, and it is rewarding, physical work.” Their high school-aged daughter Phoebe is often at the bakery and runs their booth at the RVMS Summer Farmers Market. On this particular day, she stopped by after school to chat with her parents, occasionally jumping up to refill their water bottles or help package an order.

“I have memories of being at the bakery as a kid. There are pictures of me sleeping in a banana box in one photo and on a sack of flour at age five in another,” said Phoebe. Growing up in the family business “is definitely cool. I get to meet a lot of people, see a lot of different things. I’ve learned about good work ethic and money management.” The staff at Fornax has been “a second family; I’ve known Brenno [baker at Fornax] since I was three.”

Chris takes pride in the fact that their staff, like Brenno, whose worked at Fornax for twelve years, sticks around. “The kitchen environment is like no other – the energy level, the characters – they might not fit in anywhere else, myself included,” said Chris. “We treat our staff well, and the people who stay, they’re like family.”

Sara, who has worked out front for two years, agrees. “I like the people, and the nice little community we have. People really know each other in Roslindale and we also have a lot of regulars.”

Fornax’s long-term relationships also extend to their suppliers and network of wholesale customers. “We’ve been with our egg and fruit suppliers for nineteen years, and supplying to some of our restaurants for the same amount of time,” said Chris. You can find Fornax bread at nineteen restaurants around Boston, including local places like Sophia’s Grotto and Redd’s in Rozzie.

Asked about the challenges of running a small business, Chris mentions staffing. “If there’s an issue, it falls to us.” For Kimberly, it’s “keeping things fresh after twenty years. Projects like the “parklet” in the summer help. It’s good to have RVMS in the community. They help keep Roslindale moving forward. RVMS events add energy to the neighborhood.”

“When you run a small business, you find out you’re good at a lot of things, but other things not so much, like marketing,” said Kim. Fornax might not be super active on social media, but “the smell of fresh bread is good PR.”

“The food is amazing, I love the sandwiches,” said Kaye, a regular customer. “Fornax is a great place; it has a lot of character and the staff is always friendly.”

Everything from the signature sourdough boule (which some customers refer to as the “Fornax bread”) to the soups and pop tart dough is homemade. “It’s nice to walk into a place and know it is all made there, and that everything is fresh that day,” said Chris. “Here you’ll get a good product, good service, good value. It’s real food.”

Visit Fornax Bread Company

Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

Saturday – Sunday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

27 Corinth Street

Roslindale, MA

617-325-8852

www.fornaxbread.com

A Farewell to the Woman Behind the Scenes: Kelsie Evans

It is with mixed feelings that we announce that at the end of next week, RVMS will be saying farewell to Kelsie Evans, our hard-working and talented Program Manager. Kelsie has done so much for RVMS this past year, and we are so excited for her new adventure with a new position in marketing and content development with a local real estate agent. Because of Kelsie, we’ve been able to promote our business district in a way that we’ve never been able to before — with creative business profiles, an enhanced Holiday Market, a beautiful updated e-newsletter, well-written content, and so much more. In the office, we will miss her love for Haribo Gummies and surprise Exodus bagel dozens as well as our beer and ice cream adventures. A big heartfelt thank you to Kelsie — we wish her so much #ROSlove and are happy that she continues to live in the neighborhood! 

This also means we are hiring for a new Program Manager. This is a dynamic role managing community events and marketing for our small non-profit neighborhood team. You can apply here.

 

Business Profile: Roslindale Fish Market

Roslindale Fish Market Business Profile

This is part three of a five-part series of photos and profiles of businesses in Roslindale Village. RVMS photographer, Bruce Spero, and RVMS Program Manager, Kelsie Evans, are visiting five businesses around the Village to capture some of what goes on behind the scenes. View more photos here.

“Good quality, pricing, and service” – that’s what Hope Bregianos, co-owner of the Roslindale Fish Market, promises you’ll find when you walk into her shop.

Hope and her husband Peter have owned the Roslindale Fish Market for almost 30 years, and Hope’s father owned it eight years before that. “We sort of lucked into it,” said Hope. After getting married, Hope and Peter opened a restaurant (Pisces Seafood in Chelsea), but sold it following the birth of their first child, Georgia, to take other jobs within the restaurant industry and focus on being parents. When Hope’s father couldn’t run the store anymore due to illness, they took over the family business.

Peter visits the fish pier in Boston at 6:00 am every morning to select seafood and then on to the produce market, only buying what looks fresh that day. “For example, today I wanted spinach but it wasn’t there, and I’d rather run out and wait for fresh fruits and vegetables,” Peter said. “You have to be picky and choose on a daily basis.” When buying fresh fish, Peter looks for “shininess of the eyes, firmness, and trust in my suppliers.” Peter works to build long-term relationships with his suppliers, but says, “I still have to check the product.”

Peter walks us through their selection, which includes about a dozen varieties of seafood, from salmon filets to Mediterranean sea bass to scallops and salt cod. “We don’t carry a huge selection. We focus on what our customers like and keep it fresh.” Peter keeps an eye out for specialty items he knows his customers enjoy. On this particular day, he was weighing out and packaging several pounds of calamari for a certain customer that always buys and freezes a large amount when he sees it in the shop.

“The seafood is unbelievable, prices are great, the feta is amazing – you can’t get better olives anywhere else,” said Michael, a regular customer who shops at the Fish Market once a week.  

Hope and Peter migrated to the United States from Greece as young children with their parents in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s. “Everybody moved for a better life, better opportunity,” said Hope. Peter’s family is from Tripoli and Hope’s is from Katerini.

They carry a huge variety of feta cheese, including several imported from Greece. One type, which is firm and sharp, is stored in a wooden barrel for flavor. The French imported sheep feta is also popular because it is not as salty and is more mild. “If a new customer comes in and isn’t sure what they like, we tell them to start with the French feta and then try the rest.” Peter recommends the domestic cow feta for salads and spinach pies.

You can also find a variety of olives from Greece, including three types of Kalamata, and large purple olives from Chile. Hope said a lot of customers request a combination of all the olives to take to parties.

“We started with more Greek, Lebanese, and Italian customers, but have since diversified. We’ve done our best to please them with fresh products and fresh fish,” said Hope. The Roslindale Fish Market also carries a huge selection of dried beans, nuts, and other dry goods that cater to many different cooking styles and are hard to come by in one shop. “Customers love to share their favorite recipes,” said Hope. She pulls different items off the shelf, noting which are popular and why. “Our Albanian customers buy cornmeal for a traditional pie recipe and the Italians like cornmeal for polenta.”

Hope enjoys cooking herself, and while she humbly describes herself as a “simple cook – a good cook, but not a great cook,” she regularly offers expert advice to her customers. A regular customer, Steven, approached Hope with a bag of large fresh green beans, asking, “What do I do with these?” Hope answered, “They are Roma beans imported from Spain, which we don’t have often, but Peter is sure to get them whenever he sees them at the market. Snip the ends, cut in half, sauté with onions and garlic, a few tosses with salt and pepper, and stir in fresh tomatoes.” Hope added, “we know our products and we know our customers.”

Hope and Peter greet almost everyone by name, and between weighing and packaging fish, ringing up customers, and dishing out cooking advice, are often asking customers about how they and their families are doing. “There are customers we used to see as kids, coming in with their parents, and now they’re parents themselves,” said Hope. In fact, one of those customers named the large display of Greek chocolates, cookies, and snacks when you first walk in, the “Island of Paradise” as a kid. The name stuck, and now, as an adult, he’s still a customer.

While Hope and Peter would like to see the Roslindale Fish Market stay in the family, they are quick to note that the decision is up to their kids, who have seen firsthand how hard running a small business can be. In the years they’ve owned the shop, “life has not stopped,” said Hope. “We’ve had kids, cared for aging parents, and being a mom and pop shop, you can’t call in sick.” “But,” she says, “we couldn’t have done it without the support of our kids. Growing up, they helped at the store a lot, and still do over the holidays and when they can.”

The challenges facing small businesses have grown. “This store could be four stores: a fish market, a produce market, a bakery, and a Greek food store. But small stores are disappearing,” said Peter. “We’re becoming extinct,” agreed Hope. “It is very important to support small shops so they survive.”

Many customers love the Fish Market precisely for the small, specialized shopping experience. “We travel a lot, especially to Europe, and I like that I can shop the same way here in Roslindale Village, visiting the Fish Market for fresh fish, the Boston Cheese Cellar for cheese, Fornax Bakery for bread, and Tony’s Market for meat,” said Dawn, another regular customer. Each of these shops offers a fresh product and expert, customized service.

Most of their business comes from word-of-mouth referrals. “It is nice when people open the door and ask, ‘Is this this fish market?’” said Hope.

Asked why their customers come back, Hope answered, “We focus on consistency and quality. We always try to buy the best and provide honest, good, and respectful service to our customers.”

Visit the Roslindale Fish Market:

Monday – Saturday

9:30 am – 7:00 pm

39 Poplar Street

Roslindale, MA

(617) 327-9487

New Owner for Jimmies Ice Cream Cafe

Roslindale Village’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop Recently Sold

Early spring will bring a fresh look and new ownership to Jimmies Ice Cream Café. After nine years serving the Roslindale Village community, Donna Cabral, the former owner of Jimmies, has sold her business. Donna will be pursuing her passion for carpentry and furniture-making – skills that came in handy when she renovated Jimmies last year!

Thank you for your contributions to the neighborhood, Donna! We will miss you and wish you the best.

We are excited to share that Jimmies was sold to local resident Stephanie Ortiz. Stephanie officially becomes the new owner in February, and plans to open in March 2018. During the transition, Stephanie is working on a new logo, layout, and menu, with a focus on cultivating a fun neighborhood lunch spot. You can look forward to breakfast options, sandwiches, smoothies, and yes, ice cream on the menu. 

Stay tuned for more, and please join us in welcoming Stephanie to Roslindale Village!  

New Year’s Eve in Roslindale Village

Enjoy a night out in Roslindale Village this New Year’s Eve

Check out the special menus and events at these local restaurants:

  • Sophia’s Grotto is offering seating 4:00 – 9:00 pm with a special a la carte menu, as well as late seating from 9:30 pm – 1:00 am with a four-course dinner ($60/person). Call ahead to reserve: 617-323-4595.
  • Redd’s in Rozzie‘s New Years Extravaganza 2017 offers a special menu and early seating at 5:00 pm with a champagne toast at 7:00 pm (great for families, as the kids menu is available for the 5:00 pm seating), and late seating at 9:00 pm with a champagne toast at midnight. $55/person. Reservations only, email in advance. 
  • Shanti Restaurant is serving a special four-course menu with a champagne toast from 5:30 – 10:00 pm. $45/person. (Regular a la carte menu also available.) Reserve online or call 617-325-3900.
  • Birch Street Bistro will have live music 8:30 pm – 1:00 am with Sympli Whitney’s Rockin’ Eve.
  • Delfino is taking reservations for New Year’s Eve. Call 617-327-8359.

And for New Year’s Day, Akasha Yoga is welcoming 2018 with Yoga Mala, a vigorous 108 Sun Salutations workshop with Jennifer Maniates on January 1st from 1:30 – 4:30 pm. Early bird pricing: $45, after December 23rd: $50. Register here.

Cheers! Here’s to another great year in Roslindale! 

This Giving Season, Contribute to Roslindale Village Main Street

Roslindale Village: a Place Where We Come Together to Eat, Shop, Live, and Play

By creating spaces filled with a sense of community and cheer, RVMS also creates essential economic drivers for Roslindale Village. These spaces include events like the Holiday Market on Birch Street and Annual Tree Lighting in Adams Park, and a world-renowned brewery pop-up in a long-vacant building: the Trillium Garden at the Substation. These projects, events, and programs all serve to support our local economy, especially during the cold winter months when our district’s business sales are the slowest.

“Foot traffic at my store has increased by 150% since the Trillium Garden at the Substation opened.”– Bryan Reeves, owner of Craft Beer Cellar Rozzie.

“This year’s Small Business Saturday and Tree Lighting event was better than ever – my sales increased by 20% compared to last year’s. Actually, I think it was the 2nd best day my store has ever had in sales.” – Elizabeth Swanson, Birch St. House & Garden

“Gratitude to Roslindale Village Main Street who worked their butts off to make this Holiday Market a huge success. It is this sort of event that reminds me of what a fine, unique, community Rozzie really is.” – Joanne Rossman, Purveyor of the Unnecessary & Irresistible

Many people talk about the long winter months and how isolating they can be—especially in contrast to the vibrant summer farmers market season. Right now, RVMS is working hard to bring you the Winter Farmers Market, which begins on Saturday, January 6th (10:00am-2:00pm) at the Sons of Italy Hall, and will run every Saturday through March. Extending the farmers market season on one side of the Square and hosting an indoor beer garden on the other side of Adams Park will give the Rozzie community an opportunity for the kind of connection they enjoy and would like to see more of in the neighborhood. The benefit is not just to those that attend the market or the beer garden, but also to the local businesses that rely on steady foot traffic and a vibrant commercial district.

Before the end of the year, we ask that you contribute to RVMS. Share in the warmth of the season of generosity – know that your contribution goes directly into the future of our business district and that RVMS works to make your vision for Roslindale a reality. When people come together: that is the magic of the Main Street program — and we cannot do it without you.

Sincerely,

Alia Hamada Forrest

RVMS Executive Director

2nd Annual Holiday Market on Birch Street a Success

Thank you to the local businesses, organizations, volunteers, vendors, performers, and visitors who made the 2nd Annual Holiday on Birch Street such a wonderfully festive event last Thursday!

Our local shops and restaurants were packed, and it was heartwarming to wander among neighbors and visitors, all out to shop for and celebrate the season here in Roslindale Village. Thank you for ending the RVMS events season on a high note!

Thank you to our visiting vendors and local shops for offering visitors a unique, diverse selection of holiday gifts, including Birch St. House & Garden and Joanne Rossman. Thanks also to the local restaurants and shops who offered delicious treats on Birch Street and in the Courtyard: Whoo(pie)Wagon, Boston Cheese Cellar, Sophia’s Grotto, Birch Street Bistro, Shanti Restaurant, and Redd’s in Rozzie, and to PS Gourmet for donating hot chocolate.

Thank you to Roslindale Wants to Play and Bruce Spero Photography for filling Birch Street with interactive activities for all ages, including a giant chalk spirograph and a projection activity. Songful Artists carolers and JP Honk Band added music and entertainment to the street as well. Inside Emerald Society, visitors enjoyed music of the Rock n’Roll Dreamers. Thanks to Glenn Williams, our event emcee and sound engineer. 

Thank you to the Boston Main Streets Foundation for awarding us with an Impact & Innovation Grant to make this event possible. Thank you to Meetinghouse Bank, a Diamond Supporter, for contributing a free balloon artist to the event, and A Plus Realty Group for contributing a free face painter! Thank you to our Gold Supporters, Centre Cuts Salon & Spa, Peregrine Group, and Tremont Credit Union, for supporting this event. Thank you also to our Silver Supporter, Comcast Xfinity, for contributing and supplying festive antler headbands as well. 

Thank you to the many community volunteers and RVMS Board and Committee Members who volunteered their time and talents to planning and staffing this event! A lot of energy goes into planning events like this, and we couldn’t do it without community and volunteer support!

We had fun, and hope to see you next year! 

See the full photo gallery by Bruce Spero Photography here.

33rd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting a Success

Thanks to our community volunteers and local businesses for making this year’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting a success! It was a gorgeous day, and we had a huge turnout of people who came to decorate the tree, welcome the Mayor, Santa, and Mrs. Claus, and enjoy community with friends and neighbors. 

A special thank you to long-time volunteer Tom Donahue for all his work to ensure this event happens every year. Thank you to Silvana Ragusa, also a long-time volunteer, for helping make this event possible. Thank you to RVMS Board and Committee members and community members who volunteered day-of to hand out Small Business Saturday bags, cookies, and more: Amy Gitlin, Anthony Giordano, Cathy Slade, David McFerrin, Erin Doherty, Jill Domenici, Liz Graham-Meredith, Mary Ellen Gambon, Meg Vulliez, and Robert Orthman. Thank you to our Santa and Mrs. Claus as well!

Thank you to Elaine Tutein and the Sacred Heart School Parent Ambassadors for bringing ornament-making supplies and helping families make ornaments to decorate the tree. 

Thank you to the local organizations and businesses that provided treats: Diane’s Bakery and Fornax Bread Company for the cookies, the local Elks and PS Gourmet for the hot cocoa, Dunkin Donuts for the munchkins, and RCN for the coffee and muffins.

We enjoyed the musical performances from Sacred Heart School’s choir and band, Aashka Dance, and Making Music Matters. Thanks, of course, to our co-emcees, Glenn Williams and Kelly Ransom. Thank you to Lisa from The Pet Cabaret and all our contestants for opening the event with a Reindog costume contest! 

Thank you to Mayor Martin J. Walsh and City of Boston and elected officials for joining us to celebrate not only the Holiday Tree Lighting, but also Small Business Saturday and shopping locally to support our small businesses in the Village: City Councilors Michelle Wu, Tim McCarthy, Annissa Essaibi George, Stephen Gilman, Abby Furey, and Dan Murphy.

Thank you to our talented photographer, Bruce Spero, for capturing the event! See a full gallery of photos from the event here.

Finally, thank you to everyone that attended the event, supported RVMS, and visited the local shops, salons, and restaurants on Small Business Saturday!

Summer Farmers Market Thank You

To the Roslindale Community,

What an amazing RVMS Summer Farmers Market season we’ve had here in Roslindale! Each year it’s a gift and joy to see the evolution of one of the oldest farmers markets in Boston. This year we got to see our market jump back up from 20 vendors to 30 on average every Saturday. We got to see beloved vendors return, and new faces arise in the Square. Every Saturday was a chance to connect with neighbors and learn about where your food comes from. This community event takes a huge amount of commitment and work to put on, and we would like to give our thanks to the following people:

To Paul and Steve, who’s dedication to set-up, clean-up, and Saturday logistics has helped the market run so smoothly all summer.

To Kristen, Lise, and Michelle who booked the children’s, music, and wellness series.

To Glenn, the music master himself, who is a staple at the market, and never ending supporter of RVMS.

To Liz and Richard, the hardest working Farmers Market Committee Co-Chairs in the world. Their commitment to this community event is why it is one of the most successful markets in Boston.

Thank you to Diamond Supporter Boston Building Resources for making our Music Series for our Summer Farmers Market possible!

Thank you to  Platinum Supporters Balanced Rock Investment AdvisorsCentre Cuts Salon & Spa, and Tremont Credit Union for making the Children’s Entertainment for our Summer Farmers Market possible.

Thank you to Gold Supporters Trethewey Brothers, Inc. and The Leggett Group for making the Wellness Series for our Summer Farmers Market possible.

Thank you too District 5 City Councilor Tim McCarthy and the Parks Department for working with us to make an even better RVMS Farmers Market next year!

And to the RVMS Farmers Market Committee, all our vendors, and everyone who came and enjoyed our market this season, thank you for making our market what it is.

– Emmy Smela, RVMS Farmers Market Manager

New Business Profile: Welcome, Studio M!

New Business Profile:
Welcome, Studio M!

Meet Roslindale Village’s newest business owner, Mel Ramirez of Studio M. Mel brings 16 years of salon experience to Rozzie, and is formerly of We Are Hair and Fresh Hair in Jamaica Plain. Another fun fact? Mel is from Roslindale! 

“I grew up in Roslindale and my family still lives here. I went to the Irving Middle School and St. Clare’s. Never have I imagined that I’d be opening a business here and serving my own community. It’s been exciting to see Roslindale grow from what it was before to what it is now — and I am excited to be part of that growth.”
 
To learn more about Studio M’s offerings, check out their new website www.studiomroslindale.com or give them a call at 617-477-9267. They offer ongoing specials, including Blow-out and Go-Out Thursdays (5:00pm to close). Make your appointment today!
 
Studio M
4182 Washington Street
Roslindale, MA 02131