NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT

Our community has much to offer. We are invested in finding ways to support connection, and champion those already doing important work in our neighborhood.

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FIELDS CORNER PRESENTS

In December 2019, Travis Lee purchased the Gallagher Building from John Gallagher after his retirement. 

This property will eventually be turned into condos with retail space on the first floor. For the time being, Fields Corner Main Street will be providing programming for the space.

 

We hope that this space will reflect the neighborhood and help the community connect. 

To use the space, you should become a member of the organization and be prepared to provide day of insurance when you use the space. 

We look forward to hearing your ideas!

EVENT SPACE IDEAS

Have an idea for how to use the Fields Corner Presents space? We'd love to connect! Please fill out the form below to express interest in using this space. Help us realize our vision for this unique venue's endless potential and dynamism.

Image by Andrew Knechel

PHOTOJOURNALISM PROJECT

The Fields Corner Main Street organization has hired Boston based photojournalist Johnny Nguyen to capture our vibrant business district and entrepreneurs through interviews and photography.

Check back each week for new business owner profiles!

ENTREPRENEUR PROFILES

LA MARTINE

Beauty Supply

Introducing

 

La Martine is a beauty supply store founded in 2009 by Martine Megellus, and  located at 1530 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02122.  

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Interview with Martine

Johnny: So Martine, I’m here with you and can you tell me a little bit about of who
you are.

Martine: I’m from Haiti and I’ve been in this country for a very long time, here since I was 19-20 years old. I met my husband here, we have four kids. My husband is also from Haiti. I decided to open a business because we own a home and we have four children. I began thinking about kids going to college, kids growing up, and how we are going to need more resources like to make life better for them. And I was just thinking when I had my 4th child, I wanted to own my own business. I wanted to be a business owner and then we opened the business 11 years ago when the Mayor Menino was the mayor of Boston. He helped us, he paid for our sign, he helped us, he did the sign with us. He inaugurated the store and we got a lot of help with opening. The first time opening a business was not easy, but we tried to keep up, keep the business going, and with the help of my husband too, my kids are always here, and now we’ve been here for 11 years.

 

Johnny: And that’s really cool Martine because it sounds like the reason why you decided to open the store was for your family. 

 

Martine: Yes.

 

Johnny: And over time, your family has been very involved with the store. I know we have your son is here, and your husband is here. When I came in, he was helping you out. It sounds like the whole family is involved.

 

Martine: Yes! Family business.

 

Johnny: Before you opened your own business, what were you doing?

 

Martine: I was working as a RCA in a nursing home, and I was thinking, if I have my own business, I would stop working so hard. I used to work 2 jobs at that time and I decided to open the store, I was able to cut down my hours. I was still working but I cut down to 24 hours. The business was doing great, sometimes things happen, it goes up and down, but we are still here.

 

I met my husband here, we have four kids. My husband is also from Haiti. I decided to open a business because we own a home and we have four children.

Johnny: That’s cool because even though those are two different fields, working in a nursing home and opening a business, I’m thinking that those skills that you used at the nursing home, you still use it here. For you, when you’re working in the nursing home, you’re warm, caring, a lot of empathy, a lot of love and care. I feel in the business, you have to do the same for customers. How has that been for you? How has that been for you, for the transition of working 2 jobs, so many hours, sacrifices, to owning your own business, which comes with its own sacrifices?

 

Martine: It was very tough but I managed very well. Thank god gave me the strength to manage! It wasn’t easy because I live an hour away from here. So I used to work 35 minutes from my home. Sometimes I work night time, and after night shift, I have to be here in the morning. We open at 10, I work all day. It was tough but I manage.

 

Johnny: I know you said you cut back your hours, but having children, that’s more than a full time job! 

See the rest of our interview with Martine—

Read More


Martine: I remember, all the customers know my son! After 3 months (of having him), that was when we opened the store. That’s Marvin right there. Johnny: oh he’s the longest employee! Martine: haha yes, he’s here, all the time! Johnny: So he’s 11 now - and I think that’s really cool. He was born, you opened the store. It’s like the whole journey is together. So when you opened the store, what made you design on a hair supply store? Martine: I was looking at the marketing, the top type of stores is food related or a hair store. We’re women so we like to be beautiful, that’s how I was thinking about it - Beauty is a big business - it’s a big business and people will do everything to to keep themselves beautiful and thats what made me decide to open a beauty supply store. Johnny: And I think it’s also you’re providing a really important thing for the community - This is so important and key to provide something for the people in the community. What made you guys decide to open in Dorchester? Martine: In the city, in the community of Dorchester, we have a lot of friends around and before I opened, a friend used to have a bridal shower and she was here for 30 years. I asked her, I talked to people for advice, and people said this is a good place to open a beauty store and would have good business. Basically, the people of this neighborhood are like me - Black. We like to do our hair and that's why I chose Dorchester. Johnny: And that’s really cool because Dorchester is a really diverse community - there’s a large Hatian Community, a large Dominican community, African American community, Asian community, it’s a melting pot. I think what’s really cool about doing this project so far is that the majority of the business owners that I have talked to are all people of color. Which I think is really nice and important to see. I know you said there has been up and down and with COVID19, it’s been one of the tougher times. How has that been going? Martine: When we hit February and I was listening to the situation, I didn’t take it too seriously. I was watching the news but we still had customers coming in, buying. When we hit March, that’s when I realize this is something different, this is going to be tough. Business began going down, I wasn’t selling, I had 2 to 3 customers per day, I was thinking of what I was going to do, then on the 21st they announced that it was going to close down the businesses, I will never forget this. I said “wow” and by noon time on the 24th we had to shut down, I was thinking the mayor announced that we are going to shut down for 7 days, then after listen to the news, it became longer. THey said they were going to extend it to more time, I was like wow. It has been 2 months since we shut down. I didn’t even know what we were going to do. I said maybe I’ll be out of businesses, I was thinking of what to do. The owner (of building), Alan, he helped me too. He called me “there’s a lot of applications out there that you can get help”. He was great, he was on top of it, he was calling me, sending me emails, and helping me apply for grants with the City of Boston to help me pay for the rent because the rent is expensive. And I applied because I really appreciate the City of Boston because they help us, it helped me pay one month, I was two months behind. So Thank god I paid him, so we open back up, and we’re moving forward. Johnny: And I think that’s really special to hear because no matter how hard it was, you never gave up. It speaks volumes to who you are and what you want for your family, this is not just YOUR business, it’s your family business. It’s a scary time too, not just as a business owner but also as a mother. I know for your son, school was closed, there was a lot of changes happening at once for everyone. I think it’s really good to see how you continued to fight and to move forward. So what are you hoping for the future now? I know COVID19 is still here and you have to adapt. Martine: We have to adapt, to keep the social distancing, to protect ourselves, and taking the precautions that best can - wearing a mask, wearing goggles, because I don’t think it’ll end anytime soon. I think we will to keep following the guidelines to keep the community, the people, to keep them safe and ourselves safe also. Johnny: Do you have anything else you would like to share? Martine: I just got the re-opening fund and I’m really happy about it. Now I can do everything to keep social distancing, buy what we need to keep ourselves and our community safe. We are really thankful to the City of Boston, to the Governor, the Mayor, and everything - FCMS! Jackey came to help me with the application because when I did the application, I could not submit. There was question, whatever you put, I couldn’t submit it. Thank god Jackey passing by to check in, I explained to her that I filled out the application and I couldn’t submit it. Jackey said “okay, I’ll be back!”, she came back with her laptop, helped me submit it. Now I have the funds and I really appreciate it. Johnny: And that’s the thing, these applications are there but they make it really difficult to understand. Martine: We’re really appreciate it and we are thankful!





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REIGN

Drink Lab

Introducing

 

Reign Drink Lab is located at 1370 Dorchester Ave, and was founded on the simple idea of using real, quality ingredients in great tasting drinks.  

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Interview with the Tam:

Johnny: Let's talks a little bit more about my Reign. And like what it means to you. 

 

Tam: Reign, what it means to me. Reign is fun. Want to say that something that's more my style business, my style of just everything. It's a place where I feel like I have freedom to be creative with. With the Vietnamese restaurants, I feel like I have to stay within a certain kind of a box but with Reign. It's like we can kind of do whatever we want. Right. We can be authentic to ourselves and just cannot be afraid to be creative and innovative. And I think it's cool because we're kind of we're bridging generations. We're bridging cultures as well. And we're doing it in a way that feels feels real to ourselves, you know, and we put a lot of thought into everything that we do. We put a lot of thought into how we present ourselves. You know, we want to make sure that, you know, our values shine through. So, yeah. Reign is  like our creative expression. You know, it's. I used to talk about as like an immersive experience. So if you talk about art, it's like this immersive experience where it's it's visual. You know, you can hear the music. You could hear stuff. It's also taste, obviously. 

 

Johnny: Yeah, it's really cool because I feel like I heard a lot of the same things from like, Amanda and Kathy and right about how like the creative and—

 

Tam: Not scripted! haha 

 

Johnny: Yeah. I think they could make a whole Reign of it, like the innovation thing is like is so key. When you say in like Pho Hoa. And everything like you have to stay within like a certain, like a box. It's like very traditional food. And there's like, it's like like previous generations like. Right. It's like authentic. Genuine like. Exactly. How would be like back home in Vietnam. Yeah. And I think with Reign it sounds like now you're using your Vietnamese American experience into this entire endeavor. 

 

Tam: That's really accurate and so forth, like different businesses have different purposes. 

 

Johnny: Right. 


Tam: And if if both, what is about preserving and promoting your culture. Reign is about: how do we take, how do we take where we where maybe our parents come from, where where our culture originates from, but then blended with where we come from. Right. So make it modern, make it applicable and also reach a different audience. You know, a lot of Reign's customers have never been to Pho Hoa. And so I like to oftenr mentioned that people don't drink our coffee because Vietnamese catering to the tastes great obscurities. Right. And so that's like what it's kind of back that back handed. But like Back-Door, it's introducing people to our culture. Oh you didn't know it's Vietnamese? yeah yeah it is. Yeah. Yeah. So I think it's. Yeah, Reign is just awesome.

See the rest of our interview with Tam Le—

Read More


Martine: I remember, all the customers know my son! After 3 months (of having him), that was when we opened the store. That’s Marvin right there. Johnny: oh he’s the longest employee! Martine: haha yes, he’s here, all the time! Johnny: So he’s 11 now - and I think that’s really cool. He was born, you opened the store. It’s like the whole journey is together. So when you opened the store, what made you design on a hair supply store? Martine: I was looking at the marketing, the top type of stores is food related or a hair store. We’re women so we like to be beautiful, that’s how I was thinking about it - Beauty is a big business - it’s a big business and people will do everything to to keep themselves beautiful and thats what made me decide to open a beauty supply store. Johnny: And I think it’s also you’re providing a really important thing for the community - This is so important and key to provide something for the people in the community. What made you guys decide to open in Dorchester? Martine: In the city, in the community of Dorchester, we have a lot of friends around and before I opened, a friend used to have a bridal shower and she was here for 30 years. I asked her, I talked to people for advice, and people said this is a good place to open a beauty store and would have good business. Basically, the people of this neighborhood are like me - Black. We like to do our hair and that's why I chose Dorchester. Johnny: And that’s really cool because Dorchester is a really diverse community - there’s a large Hatian Community, a large Dominican community, African American community, Asian community, it’s a melting pot. I think what’s really cool about doing this project so far is that the majority of the business owners that I have talked to are all people of color. Which I think is really nice and important to see. I know you said there has been up and down and with COVID19, it’s been one of the tougher times. How has that been going? Martine: When we hit February and I was listening to the situation, I didn’t take it too seriously. I was watching the news but we still had customers coming in, buying. When we hit March, that’s when I realize this is something different, this is going to be tough. Business began going down, I wasn’t selling, I had 2 to 3 customers per day, I was thinking of what I was going to do, then on the 21st they announced that it was going to close down the businesses, I will never forget this. I said “wow” and by noon time on the 24th we had to shut down, I was thinking the mayor announced that we are going to shut down for 7 days, then after listen to the news, it became longer. THey said they were going to extend it to more time, I was like wow. It has been 2 months since we shut down. I didn’t even know what we were going to do. I said maybe I’ll be out of businesses, I was thinking of what to do. The owner (of building), Alan, he helped me too. He called me “there’s a lot of applications out there that you can get help”. He was great, he was on top of it, he was calling me, sending me emails, and helping me apply for grants with the City of Boston to help me pay for the rent because the rent is expensive. And I applied because I really appreciate the City of Boston because they help us, it helped me pay one month, I was two months behind. So Thank god I paid him, so we open back up, and we’re moving forward. Johnny: And I think that’s really special to hear because no matter how hard it was, you never gave up. It speaks volumes to who you are and what you want for your family, this is not just YOUR business, it’s your family business. It’s a scary time too, not just as a business owner but also as a mother. I know for your son, school was closed, there was a lot of changes happening at once for everyone. I think it’s really good to see how you continued to fight and to move forward. So what are you hoping for the future now? I know COVID19 is still here and you have to adapt. Martine: We have to adapt, to keep the social distancing, to protect ourselves, and taking the precautions that best can - wearing a mask, wearing goggles, because I don’t think it’ll end anytime soon. I think we will to keep following the guidelines to keep the community, the people, to keep them safe and ourselves safe also. Johnny: Do you have anything else you would like to share? Martine: I just got the re-opening fund and I’m really happy about it. Now I can do everything to keep social distancing, buy what we need to keep ourselves and our community safe. We are really thankful to the City of Boston, to the Governor, the Mayor, and everything - FCMS! Jackey came to help me with the application because when I did the application, I could not submit. There was question, whatever you put, I couldn’t submit it. Thank god Jackey passing by to check in, I explained to her that I filled out the application and I couldn’t submit it. Jackey said “okay, I’ll be back!”, she came back with her laptop, helped me submit it. Now I have the funds and I really appreciate it. Johnny: And that’s the thing, these applications are there but they make it really difficult to understand. Martine: We’re really appreciate it and we are thankful!





When I was 18 or 19, my father told me, like, just take the best of the Vietnamese culture, take the best American culture. And then, like, make it yours. And so I think Reign is like me doing that.

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Interview with the Reign team:

Johnny: Yeah. You can start whenever. Oh, hey, so your name. Introduce. OK. 

 

Amanda: My name's Amanda. I'm the manager of Reign Drink Lab. I've been working here for four years. I'm a local of Dorchester. I found out about Reign through my friend Thri, and I've been here for four years now. 

 

Kathy: Hi, I'm Kathy. I've been here for two to three years. I am also a local Dorchester, little Beantown girl, and I've been introduced to Reign through a mural project that is now sitting outside of the building itself. 

 

Johnny: Cool. So, like where you guys both here, like when Reign first started or or when it opened?

 

Amanda: Yes, I've been here since the grand opening of Reign. We've come a long way. 

 

Kathy: I came in a little after more so that it was that kids from my high school also worked here, but then I worked on the project for the mural so I would come through Reign and then we would work elsewhere. So that's how I got here. I was there for grand opening, too. But it was more about being a customer then. But now it's more, I think, part of the best community. 

And Tam wanted to create a space for the community where people could come together and have drinks that are of high quality. Yeah. Like we don't use powder, we use real, we don't use jam. We make a lot of the stuff in-house. Then whatever we outsource we make sure that it's real, that real stuff.

Johnny: Awesome, very cool. So I really think one of the things that like the similarity to both of what you guys said,that you guys are both from Boston. Yeah. Let's talk a little bit more about your upbringing in Boston, which neighborhood, etc etc.

 

Amanda: So, yeah, I've been growing up in Fields Corners since I immigrated to the States at one. So, yeah, I've been here for a while. 

 

Kathy: Her whole life. 

 

Amanda: My whole life. Yeah. 

 

Kathy:  So I was I was born in like Boston. I was born in Boston. I was part of Fields Corner, Dorchester for a while. Given given take for my whole life. Cause those times where we travel in and out, where I live in like Ashmont, but I'm still within the Viet community where I was at. 

See the rest of our interview with the Reign team—

Read More


Martine: I remember, all the customers know my son! After 3 months (of having him), that was when we opened the store. That’s Marvin right there. Johnny: oh he’s the longest employee! Martine: haha yes, he’s here, all the time! Johnny: So he’s 11 now - and I think that’s really cool. He was born, you opened the store. It’s like the whole journey is together. So when you opened the store, what made you design on a hair supply store? Martine: I was looking at the marketing, the top type of stores is food related or a hair store. We’re women so we like to be beautiful, that’s how I was thinking about it - Beauty is a big business - it’s a big business and people will do everything to to keep themselves beautiful and thats what made me decide to open a beauty supply store. Johnny: And I think it’s also you’re providing a really important thing for the community - This is so important and key to provide something for the people in the community. What made you guys decide to open in Dorchester? Martine: In the city, in the community of Dorchester, we have a lot of friends around and before I opened, a friend used to have a bridal shower and she was here for 30 years. I asked her, I talked to people for advice, and people said this is a good place to open a beauty store and would have good business. Basically, the people of this neighborhood are like me - Black. We like to do our hair and that's why I chose Dorchester. Johnny: And that’s really cool because Dorchester is a really diverse community - there’s a large Hatian Community, a large Dominican community, African American community, Asian community, it’s a melting pot. I think what’s really cool about doing this project so far is that the majority of the business owners that I have talked to are all people of color. Which I think is really nice and important to see. I know you said there has been up and down and with COVID19, it’s been one of the tougher times. How has that been going? Martine: When we hit February and I was listening to the situation, I didn’t take it too seriously. I was watching the news but we still had customers coming in, buying. When we hit March, that’s when I realize this is something different, this is going to be tough. Business began going down, I wasn’t selling, I had 2 to 3 customers per day, I was thinking of what I was going to do, then on the 21st they announced that it was going to close down the businesses, I will never forget this. I said “wow” and by noon time on the 24th we had to shut down, I was thinking the mayor announced that we are going to shut down for 7 days, then after listen to the news, it became longer. THey said they were going to extend it to more time, I was like wow. It has been 2 months since we shut down. I didn’t even know what we were going to do. I said maybe I’ll be out of businesses, I was thinking of what to do. The owner (of building), Alan, he helped me too. He called me “there’s a lot of applications out there that you can get help”. He was great, he was on top of it, he was calling me, sending me emails, and helping me apply for grants with the City of Boston to help me pay for the rent because the rent is expensive. And I applied because I really appreciate the City of Boston because they help us, it helped me pay one month, I was two months behind. So Thank god I paid him, so we open back up, and we’re moving forward. Johnny: And I think that’s really special to hear because no matter how hard it was, you never gave up. It speaks volumes to who you are and what you want for your family, this is not just YOUR business, it’s your family business. It’s a scary time too, not just as a business owner but also as a mother. I know for your son, school was closed, there was a lot of changes happening at once for everyone. I think it’s really good to see how you continued to fight and to move forward. So what are you hoping for the future now? I know COVID19 is still here and you have to adapt. Martine: We have to adapt, to keep the social distancing, to protect ourselves, and taking the precautions that best can - wearing a mask, wearing goggles, because I don’t think it’ll end anytime soon. I think we will to keep following the guidelines to keep the community, the people, to keep them safe and ourselves safe also. Johnny: Do you have anything else you would like to share? Martine: I just got the re-opening fund and I’m really happy about it. Now I can do everything to keep social distancing, buy what we need to keep ourselves and our community safe. We are really thankful to the City of Boston, to the Governor, the Mayor, and everything - FCMS! Jackey came to help me with the application because when I did the application, I could not submit. There was question, whatever you put, I couldn’t submit it. Thank god Jackey passing by to check in, I explained to her that I filled out the application and I couldn’t submit it. Jackey said “okay, I’ll be back!”, she came back with her laptop, helped me submit it. Now I have the funds and I really appreciate it. Johnny: And that’s the thing, these applications are there but they make it really difficult to understand. Martine: We’re really appreciate it and we are thankful!





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Introducing

PHO HOA

Restaurant

 

Pho Hoa Restaurant was founded in 1992, and is one of the oldest dining establishments in Fields Corner. It is located on 1370 Dorchester Ave.

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Business Background and Entrepreneurial Story: 

 

  • Thanh Le (Tam Le's, owner of Reign Drink Lab, father) first immigrated to Boston, MA from Vietnam in April 1981.

  • Thanh aspired to become a doctor but found that medical school was too expensive.

  • Thanh decided to go to college, obtained a bachelor's degree, and became a software specialist.

  • When Thanh was laid off as a program analyst, he used his savings and opened Pho Hoa in 1992 in Dorchester.

  • Today Pho Hoa is one of the oldest restaurants in Fields Corner.

  • Thanh and his family decided to buy the land and built the building that Pho Hoa stands in today in 2008

  • Pho Hoa relocated to new building in 2009

  • It was a difficult process because of the recession and it created a lot of uncertainty with the mortgage (risk)

When I first opened Pho Hoa in Fields Corner, a lot of people thought it was a bad idea because of Fields Corner’s reputation at the time. I didn’t care because I wanted to serve the Vietnamese community. We created a loyal customers and 27 years later, we’re still here!

Interview with Than Le, and Tam Le

“When I first opened Pho Hoa in Fields Corner, a lot of people thought it was a bad idea because of Fields Corner’s reputation at the time. I didn’t care because I wanted to serve the Vietnamese community. We created a loyal customers and 27 years later, we’re still here!”

Thanh Le

 

“Pho Hoa is very important to me. It’s a family business. I believe it promotes and preserves Vietnamese culture through the celebration of food. It is my family’s legacy.”

Thanh Le

 

“Pho Hoa is never closed and that is something that I am proud of. When there is a blizzard, we will still be open. When it is a holiday, we will still be open. We’ve been here for 27 years and we want people to know that we have their back”. - Thanh Le


 “It wasn’t an ideal time for new construction with everything that was going on (recession, etc) but it was important for us to build this building. It was risky but we were confident in ourselves. We knew that we had to adapt and we had to continue working hard.”

Tam Le

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MORE TO COME

We'll be adding more, and more business profiles so stay tuned!

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1444 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

T (617) 474-1432  |  F (617) 474-1632

Email: director@fieldscorner.org

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