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Legacy Business Program

A "Legacy Business" is defined as those businesses that are long standing, independent enterprises that make a strong contribution to community character. These businesses are cultural anchors and repositories of community traditions and stories. They are a special and unique part of Boston’s historic identity.

We believe that by highlighting these businesses through this program can help turn our neighborhoods into destinations. We want to drive spending and pedestrian traffic into local commercial districts. Businesses like these are neighborhood institutions that have helped to shape the construct of our city. With increased visibility, our goal is to ensure that these legacy businesses can:

  1. avoid displacement
  2. grow their influence
  3. keep residents employed, and
  4. enrich the cultural vibrancy of the City of Boston.

Key Program Information

Key Program Information

Once we receive the nominations, the Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion (OEOI) team will review them. We will send all eligible businesses to the corresponding office of the District Councilor and all At-Large Councilors.

From these nominations, each Councilor will be able to select up to five businesses for consideration by the Review Committee. We have details on the makeup of this committee belowThese 65 businesses will be sent an invitation to apply for the program. Those applications will be forwarded to the Review Committee.

After an interview process with the Review Committee, they will submit a list of 25 recommendations to the Mayor for final approval.

The Mayor will ensure that these recommendations represent the rich diversity and heritage of our neighborhoods. Once approved, we will hold a joint ceremony with the Mayor and City Council for those selected at Faneuil Hall.

The City of Boston’s Legacy Business Review Committee is made up of the following nine people:

  • Chief of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion, or their designee
  • Chief of Arts and Culture, or their designee
  • Chief of Community Engagement, or their designee
  • Director of Small Business, Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion
  • Director of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment
  • Senior Neighborhood Business Manager (one-year term, rotating)
  • Boston Main Street director (one-year term, rotating)
  • President of the Boston Main Streets Foundation, or their designee
  • City Council Chair of Small Business, or their designee

Once a business has been designated as a Legacy Business, they can access the following: 

They will be featured as a Legacy Business on the City digital platforms

They will receive targeted technical assistance with a focus on succession planning and employee ownership. Businesses will also receive a commercial lease toolkit and free legal consultation (with City of Boston partners).

They will receive a plaque and a special badge to feature in their business. There will be a coordinated visit and photo-opportunity with:

  • a representative from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion
  • their City Councilor(s), and
  • their nominating party.

Businesses 30 years or older — or Legacy+ Businesses — will be eligible to receive an up to five-minute narrative video featured on social media, the city’s website, and other locations.

In addition to the Legacy Business Awards and related programmatic support, the Office of Economic Opportunity and Inclusion has committed $1 million to a Legacy Business Support Grant fund to be awarded to a non-profit organization to help support long-standing small businesses in the City of Boston. 

How to Nominate a Business

ELIGIBILITY

To be designated as a Legacy Business, it must meet the following criteria:

  • It is a business that has operated for at least 10 years in Boston.
  • It is a business that contributes to the cultural, historical, and societal asset of Boston’s community or neighborhood. For example, the business is located in the Little Saigon cultural district.
  • It is a business that commits to maintaining its operations in the City once officially designated.

Submit a Nomination 

Community Nomination Process

We are committed to making this an inclusive, community-driven process. Boston residents can begin nominating their favorite small-businesses beginning on Friday, January 19, 2024

Our Community Nomination Process

All nominees will be screened for eligibility, which will include: being registered as a business (not a non-profit) based in Boston, and being opened for a minimum of ten years.

We will work with City departments and the City Council to spread the word and encourage community participation. Nominations are scheduled to close to the public on Friday, February 23, 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Home businesses are eligible if it is a store where customers browse and make purchases in person. The program is specifically designed for small businesses that have a storefront.

Unfortunately, nonprofits are not eligible for this program. This program is specifically to support local small businesses in our neighborhoods.

Yes, if the business has changed ownership but has remained the same name, type of business/industry for 10 years, they are eligible. For example, a family-owned business that has passed down there business to another family member, is eligible.

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 16, 2024 at 5 p.m. EST.

In order to be eligible for the Legacy Business program, businesses must have been open in Boston for 10 years. They do not need to have maintained the same address.

2023 Inaugural Legacy Business Winners

2023 Winners

We are pleased to announce the 2023 inaugural cohort of Boston's Legacy Business Award Winners! Please join us in congratulating these small business community icons.

2023 Legacy Business Awardees

Allston
  • Twin Donuts
Beacon Hill
  • Beacon Hill Cleaners
Brighton 
  • Johnny D's
  • John J. Ryan Insurance Agency
Charlestown
  • Bunker Hill Barbershop
Chinatown
  • Winsor Dim Sum
Dorchester
  • Allan's Formal Wear
  • Chez-Vous Roller Skating Rink
  • DJs Market
  • Hicks Auto Body
  • Pho Hoa
Downtown
  • The Tam
East Boston 
  • Taquería Jalisco
Fenway
  • India Quality
Hyde Park
  • Au Beurre Chaud Bakery
  • Richy’s
  • Ron's Gourmet Ice Cream
Jamaica Plain
  • El Oriental de Cuba 
  • George’s Shoes
Mattapan 
  • Le Foyer Bakery
Mission Hill
  • Liz's Hair Care
North End 
  • Caffe Dello Sport
Roslindale
  • Pleasant Cafe 
Roxbury
  • Ideal Sub Shop 
  • Latino Beauty Supply
  • Silver Slipper Restaurant
South Boston
  • Deja Brew 
South End
  • Wally's Cafe
  • Slade’s Bar & Grill
West Roxbury
  • Sugar Bakery
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