Family long known for community grocery stores now first Social Equity applicants to open three Boston dispensaries
Photos and reporting by Chris Faraone & Derek Welcome
The team from High Profile x Budega had a lot to celebrate this past weekend, and that’s exactly what they did—first with the official grand opening of their third store, on Dudley Street in Roxbury, on Friday, and on Saturday with appearances by major Massachusetts rap star Millyz at that location as well as their spots in Dorchester and Roslindale.
It wasn’t just the opening of their third store that spurred the company to bring down food trucks and Hub radio personalities. In the larger scope of their accomplishments, High Profile x Budega CEO Brian Chavez is the first Social Equity applicant in Boston to not only obtain three licenses—the maximum allowed under state law—but he and his brother Jaison are now the first in the city with that designation to open three locations. (Pure Oasis, which is licensed through the state’s Economic Empowerment program and became the first adult-use dispensary of any kind to commence operations in Boston proper as well as the first Black-owned shop in the state, opened its second store—on Devonshire Street near the Old State House—earlier this year.)
On the day before Millyz showed up with his entourage and fans in tow, state and local politicians joined community and Chavez family members for some joyous ribbon-cutting. The dispensary may be new, but Brian and Jaison and their relatives are well known in these parts, having owned and operated bodegas and other neighborhood businesses in Boston for three decades—including two that were transformed into the Budega x High Profile locations in Roslindale and Roxbury.
State Sen. Liz Miranda, who lives down the street from the new spot, as well as Boston city councilors Frank Baker and Julia Mejia stood with the Chavez family through the municipal approval gauntlet, and were on hand to literally stand by their side at Friday’s opening. Speaking of Baker in particular, Jaison told the crowd, “He had the political courage to really stick his neck out for us and that political courage allowed us to not only get this spot approved but also the other two spots—the one in Roslindale, and in Dorchester. Without him it would not have been possible.”
“These are hard-working people, these are good people, and honestly they’re some of the few operators that are actually from here, so they’re going to care about what they do here,” Baker told the crowd before the ribbon cutting. “They’re going to care about the front of the store, they’re going to care about the treatment inside of the store.”
To complement their local ownership credentials, Budega is a partner in all their dispensaries with the Michigan-based C3 Industries, a vertically-integrated company that is also behind the Cloud Cover brand. As C3 founder and CEO Ankur Rungta told Forbes about the alliance last year, “Part of the rationale for partnering with us is that our team could bring some other resources to the table, in terms of both finances and expertise. You have to actually come back and build the store out, a complex process which requires designs and permitting, while at the same time holding real estate where you’re initially spending money without making it. It’s a long, kind of torturous process. Our partnership with the Chavez brothers has allowed us to be successful in that both parties bring assets to the table that the other might not have been able to.”
“This was the first location to be licensed and approved, but the last to be open and operational,” Brian Chavez told Talking Joints Memo at the opening. “It’s just the way that the site rolled out, the way that the chips fell—[the building] needed immense work and revitalization. Anybody that’s familiar with the neighborhood of Dudley Street in North Dorchester bordering Roxbury knows this building was a dog. I’m so happy that we were able to spruce it up and open.
“It used to be a bodega. Now it’s a Budega.”