Boaz and Ruth, Inc. wrote -
Boaz & Ruth is leading a profound transformation in Richmond. By renovating storefronts and creating jobs in the underserved neighborhood of Highland Park, the social enterprise is revitalizing the economy and the spirit of an entire community. Since 2002, Boaz & Ruth has renovated a dozen buildings, started six training social enterprises ("Life Labs") and created hundreds of jobs. Crime in Highland Park has been reduced by more than 60 percent.
Where others have seen only problems and dead ends, Boaz & Ruth sees possibility, using an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that views community as the solution. The physical and economic restoration of a neighborhood is a powerful metaphor for rebuilding of the lives of the people who live there. Boaz & Ruth has inspired a community movement, bridging racial, economic and geographic barriers and bringing people together from all over Richmond, to find new and better ways to solve social problems together.
Boaz & Ruth operates six successful training “social enterprises” in the Meadowbridge Road corridor—each provides work experience for participants.
- Firehouse 15 Café & Catering serves breakfast, lunch and dinner while providing training jobs for men and women. Additionally, the renovation of the historic firehouse provided an opportunity for Boaz & Ruth to employ 30 formerly incarcerated men and provide training in construction.
- Harvest Thrift Furniture sells home furnishings at at thrift prices. Valued neighbors in the Highland Park 23222 zip code receive an additional 25% discount. The building doubles as Boaz & Ruth’s administration, training center, and community computer lab.
- Sunny Days Thrift Clothing offers a wide range of stylish clothing at affordable prices.
- Mountain Movers supports the thrift stores, estate sales and provides packing, moving and inspection preparation services.
- Cathedral Construction maintains the many Boaz & Ruth properties and does small building projects.
- Boaz & Ruth Estate Sale Services helps Richmond area families with the sale of furniture and belongings.
Also called life labs, these social enterprise training businesses provide valuable work training experience for Boaz & Ruth program participants. In addition to generating valuable earned revenue for Boaz & Ruth’s operating budget, these businesses make a significant contribution to a renewed spirit of commercial enterprise in Highland Park.