|Brandale Randolph, owner and operator at the 1854 Cycling Company, and Tiago Prado, CEO at the recently opened BRZ Insurance, are new downtown business leaders that also serve on the Board of Directors for the Framingham Downtown Renaissance. We're excited to bring their vision straight to you!
Why Downtown Framingham?
This month, FDR spoke with local business leaders to hear why they chose Framingham and what they hope to see in the future.
We spoke with Tiago Prado
, co-founder of BRZ insurance, in his modern glass-box meeting room at 107 Concord Street to find out why he chose Framingham
for his new business.
Tiago: “Well, first diversity was a key factor. A large percentage of the population speaks a language other than English at home, and that’s our target market. The second was affordability. And third was the connection with the town. My partner and his family, they’ve been here for 20 plus years.”
Framingham is home to a diverse population, something Brandale Randolph
and his wife noticed when they were deciding on a home.
Brandale: “We chose to live here because, when we were looking through all of the towns… when we looked at the schools, their websites had more diversity in the kids that were represented. I couldn’t quite get with a town that didn’t celebrate its diversity. I would rather be in a town that doesn’t hide from it.”
Framingham’s diverse population requires companies and services to be creative to make the most of citizens’ unique backgrounds and lifestyles. What do Tiago and Brandale’s businesses bring to the unique population in Framingham? Education.
Tiago: “We don’t see ourselves as insurance sales people - we’re risk managers. It’s different - we help our clients to manage their exposures. The only way you can do that is by educating them so they can actually understand what they’re exposed to."
For Brandale, the Federal Women’s Prison in Framingham has become his outlet to educate.
Brandale: “Here are skilled women who don’t necessarily get a chance to re-enter society in a positive way, and let’s train them to give skilled labor, because even if they don’t work for me making bicycles, we’ve now embedded some sort of confidence prior to their release. So when they go back to the job market, then they do have the confidence that they can perform more than just a menial task."
So, what do Tiago and Brandale see for the future of Framingham
? For Tiago, 2027 was a little too far-fetched.
Tiago: “I think it’s really hard to look out 10, 20, or 30 years. I think it’s better to look ahead five years. I think there will be an improvement to the facades and the stores. I think there will be a store rotation. And I think there will be businesses that will no longer be around due to technology, unfortunately.”
For Brandale, downtown’s future was very clear, and very green…
Brandale: “I see Framingham as one of those places where we can innovate in ways that other towns and cities…. are not able to… because they made the decision to become a city before we had advanced technology. For instance, I see downtown Framingham as a place that’s going to have access to Smart Streets. We could have the Vision Zero that Boston’s trying to implement right now. We could have solar powered streets, or streets that are accessible to driverless cars. I believe we’ll be able to get there faster because we’re getting there just now, instead of trying to get there years ago before a lot of things had been invented… Framingham is a clean slate.”
- interviews conducted by Shanleigh Reardon, senior Framingham State University