Business Interview During COVID-19 Pandemic: Birch St. House & Garden

Business Interview During COVID-19 Pandemic: Birch St. House & Garden

Written interviews with local business owners have been organized and written by members of the RVMS Marketing Committee. We will continue to share these interviews frequently as part of a series to share how best to support local businesses in Roslindale during this challenging time.

Birch St. House & Garden (BSHG), your neighborhood gift store, is located at the corner of South and Belgrade in the center of Roslindale Square and has been a part of the community since 2001. Owner Elizabeth Swanson began working at the store when it first opened, when it originally was located in the space of the former Cheese Shop, and purchased it in 2008.

BSHG offers an eclectic collection of gifts for you, your home, and your garden. In the summer, it carries garden decor including seeds, planters, and decorations, but not soil (which is asked often!). Home decor ranges from frames to small accent pieces of furniture and kitchen goods. There’s a kids section, which is great for last minute birthday gifts. Elizabeth is also proud to have always supported local artists, featuring local, original artwork in the store, and enjoys sprinkling in vintage finds throughout the year that she personally curates. Price points are all over the board. According to Elizabeth “If you need a token gift but don’t have a ton of money to spend, we have you covered. But, we can also handle gifts at higher price points for events like weddings and special anniversaries.”

Prior to the pandemic, Elizabeth was reluctant to open an online store, because she believes in community building and having customers run into their neighbors and friends while going on a treasure hunt in the store. With the stay-at-home order, she has set up an online store called the BirchShop (http://www.birchsthouseandgarden.com/shop) where limited items are posted for sale.

For Easter, she offered baskets which were delivered locally. She also has begun advertising parts of her collection through her website, social media, and email list. Individuals interested in purchasing items from the store can text, call, or email Elizabeth who is happy to send pictures. She can fit within any budget and would be happy to suggest items that may meet your needs. Once selected, they can be purchased via credit card over the phone, Venmo, or invoiced via PayPal.

Last week, Elizabeth tried a Facebook Live event for the very first time from her home, selling 500 and 1,000 piece puzzles. It was a huge success, which led to having to order more puzzles to fit all the orders! This Thursday, 4/16 at 7:30 pm ET she will host another Facebook Live event (https://www.facebook.com/birchsthouseandgarden) from the store, featuring her spring and summer line of scarves and handbags, ranging from small wrist bags to everyday totes.

While there are lots of ways to still shop at BSHG, you can also support the store right now by purchasing gift cards either online or via phone.

If there are customers out there who aren’t currently in a position to spend right now, sharing and liking posts on Instagram and Facebook really helps in reaching a wider net of people.

Lastly, Elizabeth notes that another way to support her is to “feel free to drop an email or text to say hi. I miss all my customers so much!” She will be in the store on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 to 2 and would be thrilled to get a wave from those passing by.

Best contact info for customers: info@birchsthouseandgarden.com, 617.323.3269 (voicemail), or 617.686.1993 (text)

Celebrate Spring From Home

Celebrate Spring from Home!

While we had to cancel the RVMS Chick-or-Treat event due to COVID-19, we still want to celebrate the beginning of Spring with you and your little ones this weekend. 

First of all, look out for a special online ukulele performance on Facebook of our favorite Voice-of-Roslindale, Glenn Williams, on Saturday, April 11th at 11:00amClick here for our Facebook page.

Additionally, we are inviting your kiddos to make beautiful spring-themed art! Follow the directions below:

1. Draw or color a springy picture from scratch, or by coloring one of the coloring pages linked below. 

2. Once the masterpiece is complete, take a photo of your child’s art and either post it on Instagram with the hashtag #ROSlove OR email it to manager@roslindale.net. Then, next week we will compile the neighborhood’s artwork images and share them all together!

3. Place the art in the window of your home for all passersby to enjoy on their fresh air walks.

Here are links to FREE coloring pages, in case you don’t want to start from scratch or you’re looking for inspiration:

  • Click here to access many categories of spring-themed coloring pages to download from Crayola.
  • Click here for color & cut-out bunny and chick finger puppets.
  • Click here for a page of 9 differently designed eggs to color.
  • Click here to color a bunny.
  • Click here to color a star egg.
  • Click here OR here for eggs with flower designs.
  • Click here for an egg with swirls and hearts.

Happy coloring – we can’t wait to see and share all your beautiful springtime art!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: RVMS ANNUAL MEETING CANCELLED

IMPORTANT UPDATE: RVMS ANNUAL MEETING CANCELLED

Due to the State of Emergency declared in Massachusetts, we have cancelled the RVMS Annual Meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday, March 25th at the Roslindale House. 

Instead, we will get creative and share our Annual Report electronically and also share out RVMS committee updates in an electronic format. We may even hold a short Q&A livestream with some of our staff and Board in the next week or so. Stay tuned.


As for the RVMS Spring Chick-or-Treat on Saturday, April 11th from 11:00am-1:00pm, this event is still on for now. We’ll let everyone know if this event will also need to be cancelled or rescheduled by the end of March.

For more info about COVID-19: MA DPH Info | City of Boston Info
Please note that for now, anyone over the age of 60 has been asked by the state to self quarantine.

Find tips to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19 by clicking here.

35th Annual RoslindaleTree Lighting & Small Business Saturday

Join us for the 35th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Adams Park! This festive event always draws a crowd, featuring live musical performances, ornament-making, hot chocolate, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive on the Ladder 16 truck. We will officially light Roslindale’s holiday tree, and visitors are welcome to make an ornament to decorate it!

Saturday, November 30th is also Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a national campaign to help spur business for neighborhood merchants. Show your loyalty and support at the many local Roslindale shops, salons, and restaurants on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Special events and offers are available at participating shops.

Click here to learn more about Holiday happenings in Roslindale.

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! 

Business Profile: Roslindale Barber Shop

Roslindale Barber Shop Business Profile

This is part two 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. 

Spend even a few minutes at Roslindale Barber Shop, and you’ll see that when Anderson Díaz, the owner, says “all our customers become friends,” he means it. Anderson has a joke or a smile for everyone that walks in, and that warm, welcoming atmosphere, plus their 5-star reviews online, keep the shop busy.

“Barbers really have to interact with people – you’re touching someone’s face – and after a few visits, you get to know them, learn about their day, and get close,” said Anderson.  He puts new barbers through a test to be sure they have the technical skills, but says “it is about more than just cutting hair. We also care about what type of person a barber is – can he get along with co-workers and customers?”

Anderson’s focus on customer service and relationship-building has paid off. Customers in the shop that day had traveled from all over Boston, the South Shore, and even New Hampshire. Chester, a customer of Alex’s, comes from Braintree every week, “I come here for the people, and it’s a good quality haircut.”

“I used to live around here, on Poplar Street,” another customer, Terrance says, “and would come in for a haircut. I got close with Alex, then “Fraga” [Anderson’s nickname]. They’re like family here. I actually haven’t been in a few months and I missed it so I decided to come for a visit. They’re good people. It is money well spent.”

Each barber wears a uniform embroidered with a nickname, usually bestowed by Anderson. Sometimes they are obvious (for example, Sandy Cuevas, nicknamed “el Menor,” is short), and other times, based on the shared smiles when asked, you can tell there’s a longer story behind the nicknames. Other nicknames include “La Fraga” (Anderson), “Ñanga” (Jose Luis), and “Tigry” (Leander Jimenez).

The shop has a summer and a winter uniform, which Anderson adopted because it “looks more professional”

Roslindale Barber Shop prides themselves on quality reputation. “Our work speaks for itself,” said Anderson. They stay up on current styles and techniques, and encourage customers to show them a picture if they want to try something new, adding “we can do anything.”

This speaks to Anderson’s entrepreneurial spirit as a self-taught barber (and computer technician and English speaker). He’s from the Dominican Republic, and says, “In the Dominican Republic, everybody’s a barber. We like to go out and have fun, and have to be on point, so we get haircuts two – three times a week.”

Anderson moved to the United States from Baní, Dominican Republic ten years ago, first living in New Jersey before moving to Boston ten months later. He goes back to visit every year, usually during the winter, and his family comes to visit him. When we visited, his dad, Juan Díaz, was at the shop.

Most of the barbers in the shop are also from the Dominican Republic and they have built a community here in Roslindale. A neighbor named Netaly (who also has a nickname: “Niño Blo), often cooks them Dominican food and brings it to the shop, like boiled plantains and fried eggs for breakfast. Anderson is friendly with the nearby barber shops, saying, “they’re all Dominican, and most are from the same town as I am.”

Roslindale Barber Shop has been in business four years, and Anderson, a Roslindale resident himself, credits their success not only on their skills and 5-star reviews, but also the “foot traffic and clientele” in Roslindale. They are especially busy on weekends and around holidays, but with eight barbers, “the wait is never long.”

When asked about his favorite businesses around Roslindale, Anderson is quick to mention the snowflake roll at Diane’s Bakery, and says he and the other barbers enjoy chicken wings at Redd’s in Rozzie across the street, and playing pool at Napper Tandy’s.

Roslindale Barber Shop

4256 Washington St

Roslindale, MA 02131

617-390-5244

Roslindale Business Profile: Sullivan’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply

Roslindale Business Profile: Sullivan’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply

One of the first sites you see as you enter Roslindale Village from Belgrade or Robert Street is the big red and white S&P atop an unassuming brick building: Sullivan’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply. What many folks don’t know is that Sullivan’s is the largest employer in Roslindale Village – employing around 100 people, filling their offices downstairs with medical billing, shipping, delivery, and pharmaceutical specialists. The community pharmacy upstairs is just the beginning, as Sullivan’s Pharmacy has two other divisions of their business: long-term pharmacy (including offering pharmacy’s oldest tradition: compounding) specifically for long-term care, group homes, hospices, and assisted living facilities, and medical supply and delivery (i.e., hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers). They have 15 vehicles that deliver at least 350 prescriptions a day all over Eastern Massachusetts. They recently purchased a warehouse and parking lot in Dedham that will soon house their vehicles and larger inventory items.

Sullivan’s fills more prescriptions than many of the pharmacies in the area, ranging from 400-600 prescriptions a day upstairs to at least 800 prescriptions a day downstairs in the long-term pharmacy. Not only that – but most folks who work there have been Sullivan’s employees for 37, 25, 18, 10 years. “We retain our large staff and treat them like family,” says owner Greg Laham.

Greg Laham and his son, James, have been running Sullivan’s Pharmacy for 41 years, but Sullivan’s itself has been in business since 1912. Only three families have run the business, and it used to be located in the building across from Green T Coffee on South Street (where Ghassan’s Barber Shop is). Greg, who was a young pharmacist at the time, purchased the business in 1976 and moved into the old Sherman’s clothing store on Corinth Street in 1984, where at the time, several buildings had been burned down due to arson fires and general neglect.

Now, Roslindale’s favorite pharmacy is part of the neighborhood’s vibrant business district full of restaurants, unique retail, and a bustling farmers market.

After moving to the Square, Greg was part of the original crew of business and property owners that, in 1985, alongside RVMS Advisory Board Members Vinny Marino and Joe Portelecki, helped start RVMS. Then City Councilor Tom Menino brought this team together at a 7:00pm meeting, and said, “Hey – I want to do this Main Street thing.” And, here we are 32 years later.

“The best part about coming together and organizing with the Main Streets program was meeting people I didn’t know at the time, and becoming lifelong friends,” says Greg.

Did you know?

Sullivan’s Pharmacy offers flu shots seasonally (September thru March) with no prescriptions required to people 18 years of age and older?

Backyard Stomp Featured Post

Attend the Backyard Stomp

Come show your love and support of the RVMS Farmers Market at the Backyard Stomp fundraiser on July 22nd! Socialize with friends and neighbors under the stars in one of Roslindale’s most beautiful private gardens while enjoying local food and listening to the incredible music of Boston’s best Afro-pop band, Kina Zore! This family-friendly event is open to all. Tickets are $10 (children are free) and all proceeds will benefit your favorite neighborhood farmers market!

Father’s Day Specials in Roslindale Village

Celebrate Father’s Day with Local Gifts and Goodies

Some of your favorite bakeries and shops have gifts and treats for this weekend’s Father’s Day holiday:

  • Fornax Bread Company is making hamburger buns and hot dog rolls for Father’s Day cookouts, and will have special Father’s Day-themed sugar cookies as well.
  • Also for cookouts, Tony’s Market Roslindale has sausages (but get orders in ASAP), as well as hamburger, steaks, lamb kabobs, grass-fed beef, ribs, and prepared platters and other foods for entertaining.
  • The RVMS Summer Farmers Market is full of food and drink vendors for fresh, local produce, meats, cheese, eggs, pasta, herbs, cider, and event seedlings and flowers.
  • Solera, A Shrine to Wine has gift certificates, plus a selection of wine recommendations based on your dad’s personality. Buy one bottle and get the second one 10% off.
  • Craft Beer Cellar Roslindale will have gift boxes, plus their usual wide selection of great beer, sake, wine and cider.
  • Birch St House & Garden has a selection of gifts for dads, such as fun socks, picture frames, 02131 money clips, barware, and more. 

Roslindale Village Business and Volunteer of the Year 2017

RVMS Announces our Business and Volunteer of the Year 2017

Each year, Boston Main Streets districts select a Business and Volunteer of the Year, and recognize their contributions to the community during an award ceremony with the Mayor. Main Streets depend on local volunteers to sustain our organizations, and work with local businesses to ensure a thriving neighborhood. 

RVMS Business of the Year: Village Market

2017 marks Village Market’s 20th Anniversary in Roslindale Village. The McInnis brothers take care of the market with pride and take all and any requests from customers. Without the Village Market as an anchor in the neighborhood, residents wouldn’t have quick walkable access to a local grocery store.

RVMS Volunteer of the Year info: Talia Whyte

Talia has a quiet and unassuming personality, but is truly a force to be reckoned with and is someone you can always count on to get the work done. She is a talented marketer, website designer, and creative thinker who is among the marketing committee’s most reliable volunteers. Talia led the design and implementation of the 2016 RVMS website overhaul, making information more readily accessible to the community and easier for staff to update. Talia also volunteers extensively with Friends of the Roslindale Library.