The Plan Behind the Business

By | Ciara Speller

Thus far, my blog has been dedicated to covering all things pertaining to unique Boston businesses in the Greater Boston area, so I decided to jazz it up.

I took a look at what goes into creating a unique businesses, and to no surprise, there is much more than meets the eye.

To create a unique and thriving business, you need a well-though out businesses plan, financial stability and the mindset of “I can do it better than anyone else”.

You will hear from Andy Pomper, a Boston entrepreneur who has been in business for over two decades in Coolidge Corner, and from Stephen Harr of Score, who counsels people on all things regarding starting up a small businesses.



Local business owners have the responsibility of creating and sustaining profitable-unique businesses, and local consumers also play a major role in the success of these businesses.

Massachusetts is made up of roughly 616,000 small businesses alone and nearly 80 percent of businesses fail within the first year of opening due to a lack of income and  returning clientele.

Small business owners are urging us to shop local, show our support and help Boston entrepreneurs keep their unique small businesses open.

Unique Boston businesses provide countless  jobs, uplift the community, and most importantly tell a story.


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Gotta Get That Bacon!

By | Ciara Speller

Voted Best of Boston 2015 by Boston Magazine, The Bacon Truck, a unique Boston business, is sizzling up bacon in an unconventional way.


The Bacon Truck | photo credit : Ciara Speller 

Owners, JJ Frosk and Sam Williams decided to start a business toegther after graduating from college, and figured, a bacon food truck was the way to go.

Fast forward three seasons later, and The Bacon Truck is the only food truck in the Greater Boston area with a focus solely on bacon. And not just any bacon, but Blackstone St. Smokehouse’s thick-cut, Applewood-smoked bacon which is prepared and smoked in South Boston.

What makes The Bacon Truck unique?

“One detail that sets us apart is our attention to detail to try and make every sandwich perfect and full of bacony goodness,” said Frosk.

Every menu item consists of at least one piece of bacon, and prices range from $1.00 to $10.00 (plus tax) depending on what you choose.

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The Cuban | photo credit : gourmet

The Bacon Truck is serving up lunch favorites like the Turkey Avo, made up of truck-roasted turkey breast, bacon, beefsteak tomatoes, romaine lettuce and chimichurri aioli, to its unique take on a Cuban sandwich with bacon, braised pork shoulder, muenster cheese,truck-made garlic pickles and spicy mustard.

Did I mention that The Bacon Truck was serving up bacon in every form? That’s right, bacon sweets as well. All you sweet tooth’s in the area have your choice of chocolate-bacon truffles, candied bacon and a slab of bacon covered in Nutella.

The Bacon Truck will also cater for special events upon request, and is brining a few unique menu items to the table like deep-fried bacon wrapped hotdogs to deep-fried mac and cheese bites and bacon and Burbon BBQ pork sliders.

FUN FACT: Did you know that Boston placed in the top 13 for  Best American Cities for Bacon Lovers to live?

No wonder The Bacon Truck has created so many unique bacon-filled eats.

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Nutella dipped bacon | photo credit : Ciara Speller 

If this post has got your mouth watering over The Bacon Truck’s creations, this is where you can find the truck five days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.:

Monday – Fenway Food Trucks at Landmark Center / 401 Park Drive at Brookline Ave.

Tuesday – Innovation District / 101 Seaport Blvd.

Wednesday – South Station / Dewey Square

Thursday – Constant Contact / 1601 Trapelo Rd., Waltham, MA

Friday – Athena Health / School St. Watertown, MA

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Joyful Plates for Everyone

By| Ciara Speller

Many households throughout out the U.S. have at least one family member that deals with dietary restrictions or that has a food intolerance.

In these cases, cooking family meals that everyone can eat and enjoy is somewhat impossible…


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Thanks to PlateJoy, a unique online Boston based business, prepping meals for the whole family has just been made a lot simpler and enjoyable for the whole family.

Why PlateJoy is unique/how it works:

STEP 1- Customers are asked to take a three minute personalization quiz which helps PlateJoy design a meal plan for users before they are asked to approve their customized menus.

STEP 2-PlateJoy then organizes the ingredients that each customer will need into a time  shopping list that is easily accessible by phone and for print.


photo credit | tech

STEP 3-Personalized recipes are sent off to the customer, with only ingredients that match their diets and are fitted to their time constraints.

STEP 4-Time to enjoy PlateJoy meals every week that are tailored to your dietary needs and lifestyle.

Bon Appétit. 



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Steinert’s New Set of Keys

M. Steinert and Sons piano store is getting a new set of keys, and I don’t mean piano key, but actual keys…

The unique Boston business has been located at 162 Boylston Street since it first opened its doors in 1896, and now over a decade later, it is being forced to temporary relocate to Park Square.


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The Murphy family, who owns M. Steinert and Sons must transport about 300 pianos,  300 yards to the stores new location- a result of the new landlord undertaking major renovations to the building where the store has resided for the past 120 years.

But the move is not that simple for the Murphy’s.

They will have to sift through records, remains, and memories in including photos of performances in the store’s once majestic Steinert Hall in the early 20th century, an autographed picture of Vladimir Horowitz, old letters from the Boston Symphony Orchestra about concert piano deliveries, scrapbooks of advertising campaigns from decades past and even a rare grand piano from 1856, as they prepare to down size to the new smaller location.


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Moving pianos is as hard as it looks.  Jerome Murphy, uncle to the Murphy’s and the company’s treasurer, said: “It’s not going to be the Ringling Brothers; it’s not going to be a parade of elephants going down the street.”

It takes three people about 15 minutes to move a grand piano and the retail cost of moving a single grand piano is about $400, if it does not require stairs or cranes, Brendan Murphy, the company Vice President, said.

With the amount of things that have accumulated in M. Steinert and Sons over the past 120 years, the anticipated move time is one month, and the new location in Park Square should be open for business in August.


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The Murphy family is hopeful that their temporary relocation is exactly that- temoparay.

“We’ve been invited back, and we expect to come back,” said Paul Murphy. “This is our address, this is our home, and we want to keep it that way.”

Creative Place, Creative Space

By | Ciara Speller

Boston is known for many things. One thing being, creativity. It has been known for producing talented artists and is starting to become highly recognized for new fashion innovations.

Because of this, there was a high demand for a local spot centered around these concepts, and eager Bostonians were not finding a combination of the three, a few years back.

Since no one was taking matters into their own hands to create a unique space where artists could get their juices flowing, promote themselves, perform and network at the same time, Nick Urciuolo, the CEO of MASS Apparel, a unique Boston business in Allston, decided to make it happen.

MASS Apparel

photo credit | Ciara Speller

MASS Apparel, located at 383 Cambridge St., is a “one stop shop” in the making, providing local talent with a place that allows their voices to be heard. The goal of this Boston based shop, is to provide a place where any type of artist is able to freely express their innovations, no matter what they are bringing to the table.

This men’s fashion boutique (showcasing their own brand, as well as local brands), meets recording studio, meets print shop, hit the ground running just 2.5 years ago and has filled the void that local talents were not experiencing, ever since.

“It’s a space for creative people to use when they need it,” said Urciuolo.

This unique Boston business, encourages talents to showcase who they truly are, houses concerts, album release parties and opens its doors for charitable events as well.

What makes MASS Apparel unique?

“We honestly haven’t seen anyone doing what we’re doing. It’s an all around shop.” said Urciuolo.

Another unique quality of MASS Apparel is how it gives back to the community outside of its doors. The shop has paired up with a local high school, in efforts to foster a better support system.


photo credit | Ciara Speller

“We mentor kids from Brighton High,” said Director of Marketing, Devon Pittman, in regards to how the shop gives back and helps out in the community.

Their customer friendly demeanor and artistically welcoming vibe is what allows the shop to bring more attention to what they are doing, and Alex Breski, an artist contributor, said that he believes  MASS Apparel is “the best place in the city of Boston to do so.”



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Connecting at Olive Connection

By | Ciara Speller

Tucked away on a quiet Brookline Street, is a little piece of Italy, Greece, Spain and even Lebanon.

Olive Connection, located at 1426 Beacon St., is a unique Boston Business, bringing forth some of the best olive oil, balsamic vinegars and other cooking ingredients in the area from countries across the world.

The family owned businesses, run by Morry, Carol and CJ Sapoznik, doesn’t just sell authentic supplies  that any foodie would love, but also hosts weekly events that allow customers and guests to experience tastes from various countries.

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On April 5, the Olive Connection hosted an event entitled “An Evening in Sicily” where guests were able to experience oils, wines, cuisine prominent in this Mediterranean island and socialize amongst one another for the evening.

Fourth generation olive cultitvationsist, Giuseppe Taibi presented his olive oil line to guests for sampling, and explained what makes each oil unique.

” Each olive has a different taste, and you will not know about it unless you are tasting it,” said Taibi in response to why oil tasting is a unique experience.

The Sapoznik’s also brought in Chef Emily Vena of La Morra Cuisine to cook in front of guests with products from their store and to teach more on the art of Italian cuisine.

Sad that you missed out on this delightfully tasty night? Not to worry, Olive Connection has many more informational and food filled events coming up!

What makes Olive Connection unique?

“Having fun, meeting  wonderful people and being independent. Being independent allows us to meet local artisans and bring that taste to peoples table, but it also give us their passion. It’s about hospitality and being a part of the neighborhood,” said Morry and Carol Sapoznik, in regards to what makes their store stand out from the rest.

Visit Olive Connection  for more information on this unique Boston business!

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Brewin Beers With Buds ( The Home Edition)

By | Ciara Speller

In the last five years, small urban stores have started to really “pop” and develop.

Amongst those stores- unique Boston businesses that allows you to brew a nice cold one in the comfort of your own home!

That’s right, home brewery supply stores are alive and flourishing.

Tome Casey, who owns the Boston Homebrew Supply store, a unique Boston business located in Coolidge Corner at 1378B Beacon St. in Brookline, owns one of only two home brewery stores in the metro Boston area.


Owner, Tom Casey of Boston Homebrew | photo credit: Ciara Speller

So what exactly can one expect upon entering a homebrew store?

Basically, Casey is providing all the tools that someone would need to create a brewing paradise in the comfort of their own home.

At Boston Homebrew costumers can choose from 50 grains for brewing, and even have the option of using gluten free additives in their mixtures, for those beer lovers who have gluten intolerances.

The Boston Homebrew Supply store is fully stocked with equipment kits, kettles, and various ingredient flavors to get you started off as a homebrew wizard for roughly $200. And if there is something you wish to add to your concoction but do not find it at this location, Casey can make sure to find it for you!



Did you know that home brewing was not federally legalized until 1978?

How about that about a million Americans brew their own beer at least once a year, according to the American Homebrewers Association? 

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Each flag represents 20 million brewers in every state who brew once a year. | photo credit : Ciara Speller


Men would brew in their garages as a way to conceal the home brewing process and continue to do so presently, but no longer need to hide it.

“It’s not just your middle-aged man brewing in his garage in the suburbs now, a lot more women are doing it too,” said Casey.


What makes Boston Homebrew Supply unique?

“I try to provide the best experience for customers. I want to have the best grain mill, best pops and yeast for their brewing.” said Casey.

Casey’s location is also home to the Boston Homebrew Supply Club on the last Thursday of every month, and he says his club members are his “fiercest advocates” and always want to learn more about the process.


50 grain assortment | photo credit : Ciara Speller

This “one man show” is open six days a week and is in the heart of Coolidge Corner, easily accessible by the Green Line to Cleveland Circle.


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Paradise Awaits…

By | Ciara Speller

Last week I needed a quick break from reality.

So I hopped on the T and end up in Mexico, where I saw the most beautiful prayer cards and medallions.

A few minutes later I was in Morocco, trying on necklaces with some of the country’s most precious stones in them.

And some how I found myself in India, modeling Kurta’s at a boutique.

It was simply amazing…


But I did find myself at Nomad, “ the most global” store in Cambridge, and a unique Boston business selling fair-trade goods from all over the world.

Nomad has been a fan favorite, servicing members of the Greater Boston community for 26 years.

Owner, Deb Colburn started her store as a booth at street fairs. Once it took off, she decided to open a permanent location.

Nomad first opened on Newbury Street in the 90s, where it stood for 10 years. Colburn then relocated to its now 1741 Massachusetts Ave. location in Cambridge, and has been there for the last 16 years.

Accessible from the Porter Square T station, this “anthropologist’s paradise” (as Display Manager, Lena Voghel describes the unique shop) is selling an abundance of items that support non-profits, helping artisans in foreign countries.

What makes Nomad unique? 

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Nomad | photo credit : Ciara Speller

“There are one-of-a-kind items brought back to be sold in this store. Some items are wrapped in clothing in a suitcase from Moracco, India and Mexico just to be sold here,” said Voghel and Jess Shada, Store Manager at Nomad.

Nomad sells folk art, clothing, interiors, children’s apparel, accessories and jewelry which range in price.  And if  you need something new and different, you can find it at Nomad Voghel said.

Did I mention that Nomad is dog friendly?  And is promoting environmental friendliness by asking customers to bring their own shopping bags to avoid a 10 cent charge, which the city of Cambridge is now enforcing.


photo credit: Ciara Speller

With final exam week approaching for many college kids out there, a mini vacation would be nice… But a trip to Nomad will probably suffice!

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FoMu Allston

By| Ciara Speller

There is no better feeling than indulging in an ice cold smoothie after a long day in my eyes.

Actually, I am retracting that statement…

There is no better feeling than indulging in an ice cold smoothie after a long day that is dairy-free, and not being able to tell the difference.


FoMu Allston | photo credit : Ciara Speller

At FoMu, located at 481 Cambridge St, in Allston, and 617 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, owners Deena and Hin Tang are serving up some sweet vegan treats for this now heavily populated vegan community.

This unique Boston business only serves things made from scratch, with plant-based and minimally processed ingredients. And it’s not just smoothies on their menu, but they also have around 16 ice cream flavors at all times, baked goods, ice cream cakes and other hot beverages.

What makes FoMu unique?

Haydee Irizarry who works at FoMu Allston says that the owners are not vegan at all, and neither is majority of their staff.

“They just want to offer a healthy alterative to people who you can’t have dairy, or who can’t have gluten. It’s just an alterative ice cream store that’s giving people the opportunity to experience desert in a different way,” said Irizarry.

At FoMu, you can create your own concoctions to your liking, for a reasonable price, which is a plus!


Lavender ice cream with blueberries smoothie | photo credit: Ciara Speller

I went with a lavender ice cream smoothie, with blueberries, almond milk and vanilla rice protein, racking up at just under $8 after tax.

Prices range from $3 for cookies up to a little over $40 for ice cream cakes after tax.

Oh and 655 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End will be getting some TLC from FoMu soon. Stay tuned!


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Shoes.. OMG Sudo Shoes!

By | Ciara Speller

What do you get when animal by-products, animal made glues, harsh chemicals and synthetic materials are extracted from your everyday trendy foot apparel?  You get 100 percent vegan shoe ware from  Sudo Shoes, a unique Boston Business and one of the only all vegan shoe stores in the country.

Sudo Shoes ( 1771 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140) just a quick walk from the Porter Square T station, has been serving Greater Boston’s vegan and vegetarian community in its quaint location since 2010.

Sudo Shoes

Sudo Shoes, Porter Square. | photo credit: Ciara Speller

Owner, Scott Fitzsimmons, said the idea for opening up this 100 percent vegan shoe store that now sells over 30 brands of vegan shoes and various vegan handbags was a no brainer.

At the time he decided to create a store where vegan shoes were accessible for purchase, no one else was doing it and there was a high demand for them in Boston, which has “gone vegan” Fitzsimmons said.

“Shoes are such a necessity. It seemed like the right thing to do,” said Fitzsimmons.

It took a year for this practicing vegan musician to get Sudo Shoes up and running, which started out with only 12 brands of shoes in the store.

But 6 years of servicing the Boston community with an entire vegan practicing staff who really care about their products and the concept of being environmentally friendly, is why Fitzsimmons believes that the vegan shoe store is where it is today.

What makes Sudo Shoes unique (besides the obvious)?

Fitztsimmons believes the overall concept part makes Sude Shoes unique.

“We don’t preach at all.  We just want you to know that there are other things out there. We want you to know what you are buying and won’t sell you things you don’t need,” said Fitzsimmons.

Sudo Shoes welcomes shoppers of every dietary tribe, not just practicing vegans. Prices range from low to the higher end, just like any other shoe store, and Fitzsimmons is carrying popular brands like Madden Girl, Blowfish, Rocketdog and even Merrell.

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW: when_in_boston via Instagram for the latest posts on unique small businesses in the Greater Boston area!