A Bull’s Head Renaissance with the Bodega Boys on Brown Street

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myself and Brent talking on The Island, the small park across from Brown St. Bodega

Having started their own business at 19–maybe the youngest African-American entrepreneurs in Rochester–the Bodega Boy’s story is never taking no for an answer.

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myself and Jo Jo Johnson

I met Brent Bostic and Trey Diggz when my friend Jo Jo Johnson  Jo Jo and me reunited! suggested the story of two young men who have built a business from scratch, were a driving force behind starting a Clean Sweep in their neighborhood, and are part of a renaissance slowly taking place in Bull’s Head at the corner of Brown and West Main. Give me three pics and we are ready to roll.

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employee at Brown St. Bodega

At 810 Brown Street, you’ll find Brown St. Bodega , co-owned by Brent and Trey for about five years. Glad to provide the local community with daily staples, Brent is most proud the store creates jobs for people in the neighborhood. Jobs make good customers and good neighbors.

Brent has long dreamt of starting his own business. Having attended Brighton High School and later earning a G.E.D, Brent gained important skills through Jobs Corp. At MCC, Brent started in the automotive program, but knew he really wanted to be an entrepreneur.

As Brent flatly told me, “People look at our age and race and think we can’t do this.” He says the Bodega Boys have heard no way a thousand times. No way simple fuels their determination.

And determination they have. They built Brown St. Bodega though trial and error and hard work. For example, the business uses an outside accountant. But, as Brent says, an accountant is of limited help if you don’t yourself understand cash flows and tax regulations. At each, step they educated themselves about the pitfalls that can derail small businesses. At this point–while they very much like their accountant–they could do a lot of the bookkeeping themselves.

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myself and Brent outside Brown St. Bodega on our record setting (69 degrees!) December 14th

Like any entrepreneurs, they are planning ahead.  The Bull’s Head area is slowly but surely approaching a renaissance point. Plans are in the works for new housing and retail construction.

As the neighborhood gentrifies–or at least undergoes renewal–the Bodega Boys will be there: expansion, a new look, new products and–as they are glad to say–more job creation.

As for cleanup project?  Several years ago, Brent and Trey got tired of the trash and rubbish littering their neighborhood. Not taking no for an answer, they met with city officials and–along with the help of others–gathered Cleen sweepvolunteers from the neighborhood. With the “Island” (the small park across from the store) as headquarters, a indexlittle bit of history was made. The first Bull’s Head Clean Sweep.IMG_0043

Using the phrase frequently, Brent and Trey are proud to be a “Black Owned Business.”  A term implying more than cash flows and bottom lines but a fundamental commitment to their community. For the Bodega Boys that means planting their flag on the Island and making it work.

On another Black Owned Business

The Villa Movement: Adopting East High on the game plan in the near future