El Oriental de Cuba and George’s Shoes Honored as City’s Inaugural Legacy Business Award Winners

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Two longtime Jamaica Plain businesses were honored as part of the city's inaugural list of Legacy Business awardees.

El Oriental de Cuba and George's Shoes were among the 30 businesses across the city that Mayor Michelle Wu recognized on May 18.

"El Oriental de Cuba has been a favorite family owned restaurant for the past 30 years, and it is an honor to be recognized by the City of Boston,” said Yvonne Torres, owner of El Oriental de Cuba. “Receiving the Business Legacy award not only acknowledges the restaurant itself, but the incredible community of Jamaica Plain that has kept this restaurant alive during and after the pandemic. My father Nobel Garcia and late owner, well known and loved by everyone, would have been extremely proud to see his restaurant be recognized as a legacy institution."

The 30 Legacy Businesses were chosen by nominations from the public, review by the City Council, and selection by a committee that included representatives from city departments, and Main Streets organizations. Selections were based on application scoring and community support, and the committee made sure that the list was representative of Boston by industry, neighborhood, gender, and race.

To qualify for the Legacy Business program, businesses must have:

  • Operated for at least 10 years in the same location within Boston.
  • Contributed to the cultural, historical, and societal assets of Boston’s community or neighborhood.
  • A plan to maintain its business in the city.

This program was developed by the Office of Small Business within the Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Cabinet. This new program will provide targeted technical assistance to the legacy businesses with a focus on succession planning, growth, business updates, and employee ownership. Businesses will also receive a commercial lease toolkit, legal consultation and other resources from city of Boston partners.

The inaugural cohort of 30 Legacy Businesses will be honored at an awards celebration at Faneuil Hall on May 22. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the free event to support our small business community, and are asked to register in advance at legacybusiness.eventbrite.com.

"Our legacy businesses are pillars in our communities and expand opportunity for our residents and families across Boston," said Wu. "I'm thrilled that we get to honor these staple businesses who invest and uplift our communities. Congratulations to our thirty newly selected legacy businesses and we look forward to being able to support these foundational businesses across Boston's neighborhoods for years to come.

“The response was tremendous, and this has truly been a community driven process, which is part of the beauty of it,” said Aliesha Porcena, Director of Small Business. “Boston residents submitted over 1,400 nominations, and we are so happy to acknowledge the group of inaugural businesses this month. Our office is supports small businesses to start, grow, and stay in Boston. This inaugural cohort represents 30 businesses that are staples in our communities, and part of our rich history - it’s an honor to celebrate these businesses who have given our city and communities so much. We are committed to provide continued support and services to these businesses.”