roxbury-innovation-centerThe Urbanists visited the Roxbury Innovation Center today and met with Netia McCray to hear about the role of education entrepreneurship in community-building and economic development. Centrally located in the Bolling Building across the street from Dudley Square Station and across the hall from Boston Public Schools’ offices, the RIC presents a convenient locus for innovation workshops and educational programs that attract students and local business owners. Netia was leading a workshop with a group workshop when we arrived–and we were impressed to see the level of excitement with which the children worked in teams to build and analyze the electric circuits that they were tasked with constructing.

We also spoke with Danny Hardaway of Final Touch Boutique, a local women’s fashion retailer catering to a diverse set of customers who seek a more personalized shopping experience. Danny emphasizes the importance of individualized service and unique clothing selections to the success of the family-run boutique, this time of year featuring a variety of shimmering brocade or velvet holiday dresses. The boutique attracts commuters passing through Dudley Square Station with its sunshine-yellow walls, welcoming seating area, and warm customer service. But Final Touch also attracts shoppers from the greater Boston area who seek a unique shopping experience and who know the boutique from its former iterations in Mattapan and the South Shore. Danny also explained that the relocation to the Bolling Building comes at an opportune time for Final Touch, as redevelopment  and addition retail has been moving into the Dudley Square area.

Both the RIC, a nonprofit, and Final Touch, a local business present community-oriented spaces within the Roxbury community–one through innovation, the other through good, old-fashioned customer service.