August / September Downtown Digest

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spurring growth in our urban core


Brandale + Tiago:  Be the Change you Want to See
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

downtown framingham business coalition

excelling faster, together
Downtown Framingham Business Coalition
Our three-member team recently met individually with our downtown businesses, and the following matters were expressed as most important:
- ease of customer parking through improved wayfinding
- promoting an enhanced environment for patrons, specifically in Irving Square
- sign and facade updates
- facilitating RamCash vending

Register today for FREE upcoming training for our downtown small businesses:

Demystify social media and digital marketing - FREE one-day seminar hosted by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts                                                           
   Thursday, September 14th  9 am - 4 pm 
   Springdale Beer Barrel Room  102 Clinton Street

Sometimes supporting businesses simply means being a friendly sidewalk greeter.  On a nice day, #SittingOutForSolidarity can be very rewarding!



Over the past month, we've established a strong working relationship with Verizon.  One by one, we're working together through open, frequent communications to improve our downtown utility poles.  The pole below is adjacent to the Arlington Street Park.


Get healthy - walk to the store, buy fruits & veggies, and then walk back home!
The downtown community is lucky!  Residents can simply walk to the grocery store, pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, and then walk back home.  Many own small push carts that are perfect for trips to the market.  This activity reduces traffic congestion and cuts down on pollution and the use of fossil fuels.  

Here is a snapshot of our produce offerings:

1) El Pikante Foods (530 Waverly Street and 40 Union Avenue)
2) Tesoro Supermarket (80 Hollis Street)
3) Seabra Foods (208 Waverly Street)
4) Brothers Meat Market (113 Irving Street)
5) Casa de Carnes (125 Howard Street)



Mark your calendars for our FOUR big events this September!
Boutique Blitz and Cultural Tour with Gallery 160 Party
Saturday, September 9th | 4:15 pm - 10:00 pm
Tickets: 1 for $10.00 or 2 for $15.00

Lyft presents College Underground & Nightfall Buffet
Friday, September 15th | 9 pm - 12 am

-  College Students! Register today for the $5.00 nightfall buffet
-  Relish a night filled with friends, games, prizes and great music! Use Lyft code COLLEGEUNDERGROUND to get $10.00 off your ride!

Harvest Walk
Friday, September 29 | 7 pm - 11 pm

- Register today for our fun-filled, community building adventure! 
You won't believe all the awesome things you'll receive throughout the night!


So many great upcoming events in downtown Framingham! 
- Sustainable with Style Fashion Show | September 23rd - 5 pm at Fireseed Arts

- Framingham Community Farm End-of-Season Event | October 7 afternoon     Edwards Church


Investing in a thriving downtown!
- Amazing Things Art Center holds its first new show on September 1st with Bill Staines

- BRZ Insurance (107 Concord) opened on August 7th!

- CORE Fitness (84 Concord) completed a Zumba demonstration at our Summer Haze

- Chang Express' (42 Concord) request for new facade improvements has been approved by the Mass Historical Commission

- Deluxe Depot Diner was featured on our Cafe Crawl and Summer Haze Fab Five Food Fest

- El Mariachi (358 Waverly) unveiled its all-day breakfast menu

- Exhibit 'A' Brewing Co. (81 Morton Street) hosted its first Summer Breeze Beer Garden

- Frescafe (82 Concord) just installed new tables and was featured on our Cafe Crawl and Summer Haze Fab Five Food Fest

- J
ack's Abby (100 Clinton) unleashed a social media campaign featuring its Copper Legend and #honortodayslegends

- Mega Realty (16 Union Ave) and the new MMA / Jiu Jitsu Studio (12 Concord) are in the midst of serious internal demolitions

- Padaria Brasil Bakery (165 Concord Street) introduced its hand-scooped ice cream and participated in our Cafe Crawl

- Sabor de Casa (40 Hollis Street) supported the Fab Five Food Fest at our Summer Haze 

- Shining Stars Preschool (214 Concord Street) just opened and is enrolling students for the new school year.

- Sofa Cafe (181 Concord) supported our Cafe Crawl and Fab Five Food Fest at the Summer Haze

- Springdale Beer Barrel Room (102 Clinton) introduced its Cerebus 5000 system.

- Sweet Home Furniture is coming soon to 145 Concord Street

- Tropical Cafe (85 Hollis Street) supported our Cafe Crawl and is looking to expand its capacity to support larger entertainment shows


Build your career in downtown Framingham!
- Sofa Cafe - Barista

- Deluxe Depot Diner - 417 Waverly Street 

- Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company - 81 Morton Street 

- Jack's Abby - 100 Clinton Street (16 positions)


Great arts, entertainment, and wellness activites to support our growing social scene!


It's on us!

"I think it's important to support downtown Framingham because it's my town. I like the diversity there. I like the restaurants and bakeries. I want the businesses to succeed. I'm happy with the improvements and investment we are making in downtown. I think a more successful and vibrant downtown makes for a more successful and vibrant Framingham." - Marjorie Hansen


Downtown Framingham champion Dan Borelli is working hard to repair the Ashland Memorial Healing Garden after it was vandalized. Please join Ashland Citizens Action Committee - Clean Up Ashland on September 9th for a tour of the garden and Superfund site to raise money to repair the damage done by vandalists.


Making a difference - one dollar at a time!
Through ride-share apps like Lyft, downtown Framingham will have more people car-pooling and fewer people looking for parking spaces.  These efforts not only reduce CO2 emissions and brake pad debris, but it also de-congests our road ways which makes travel much safer for our pedestrians and cyclists.   We are so thankful to Lyft for sponsoring our events and helping us bring our dreams into reality!
We take safety seriously, and Avidia Bank is supporting our efforts to create a safer, more welcoming environment in our colorful, walkable urban core. Through coordination with the Framingham Police Department and Department of Public Works, we will soon be installing a high-definition 360 degree camera into our downtown! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We're so grateful to Parks and Recreation for supporting our Summer Haze park party by providing trash cans and picnic tables.  Thank you for meeting with us and brainstorming ways to make this event fun and successful during its first year.  Also, thank you for helping to make the Summer Breeze Beer Garden a reality.  We were able to host a fun and safe time for the families in downtown Framingham, and we cannot wait to use Gallagher Park for future programming.
Thank you to the Framingham Department of Public Works for providing road barriers for the Summer Haze Park Party and police barriers for the Summer Breeze Beer Garden.  We saved so much money through your materials and hard labor.   We don't take these contributions lightly, and we are forever indebted to all the support you have shown us all year long.  Thank you again for being a reliable partner for downtown Framingham's community growth!
Thank you to Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company for hosting the Summer Breeze Beer Garden with an immediate "yes"!   Also, thank you for contributing proceeds back to our organization so we can continue our important mission.  We're so thankful to have you as a downtown business leader!
Diane Pabst provided a donation toward our public arts scene that will be matched through her employer! THANK YOU SO MUCH!  We're so thrilled to start adding more splashes of artistic color to our downtown!
We're so grateful to TITLE Boxing Club for supporting our recent Summer Haze park party at Gallagher Park.  It was so rewarding to spend the day with them as we work hard to promote and use our green space in downtown Framingham!  We can't wait to do it again!
Thank you to Michael P. Cannon & Associates for helping to sponsor both the Cafe Crawl and the Summer Haze.  We're so grateful for your unwavering belief in our ongoing and highly complex initiatives. We can't wait to bring our community together on more occasions! 
Dr. Sumbul Naqvi from Atlantis Dental is a true community player! Not only does she sit on the Framingham Downtown Renaissance Board of Directors, but she also actively works on our Downtown Framingham Business Coalition.  We appreciate your time and financial support of the Summer Haze!
Thank you to Bill Lynch for supporting our downtown Framingham party, Summer Haze, at Gallagher Park.  It was a gorgeous day, and your friends and facepainters really contributed to the community spirit!  


You shoulda been there!


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