Urban Flow La Moda Brings Style to Fitchburg
By Amanda Burke
FITCHBURG -- Tucked away on the corner of Summer Street and Main Street is a local clothing shop offering a taste is New York City style to Fitchburg.
“There’s a lot of stores like this in New York, you don’t see that here though,” said Stephanie Rodriguez, co-owner of Urban Flow La Moda.
Rodriguez, 31, grew up in the Bronx borough of New York City, and this summer, opened the clothing store with her boyfriend, Edwin Rodriguez.
The two entrepreneurs sensed a demand for a locally owned shop that could serve as an alternative to big box stores.
It was the culmination of years of hard work for Edwin Rodriguez, 31, who moved to Fitchburg from Puerto Rico in 2011.
It was tough finding work in a city where he knew almost no one. Rodriguez said he almost returned to Puerto Rico when a job he had lined up in Fitchburg fell through at the last minute.
But then, the very next day, Rodriguez received a phone call. He’d gotten a factory job at Camco Manufacturing in Leominster, where he still works to this day.
“It was kind of tough but I worked my way through it,” he said.
He’d always dreamt of owning his own business, so over the past year Edwin saved up the money to make it happen.
He bought merchandise using money from his income tax return, and little by little slowly built up his inventory of clothes, watches, jewelry and sneakers -- selling Air Jordans, Nike’s and more.
Running the business means long hours for Rodriguez. He wakes up at 4:45 a.m. and works a full day at Camco, then works at Urban Flow from 4 p.m. to closing.
On weekend nights, he works as a club promoter in Worcester and Fitchburg. “I haven’t had a vacation in, I don’t know how long,” he said Friday.
Someday he wants to expand into a larger space in the city. But for now, Rodriguez caters to repeat customers by stocking new items every week.
“The customers that I have they’re coming every week, so I have to keep giving them something new so I don’t loose them,” he said.
Rodriguez also buys his clothing wholesale, and passes much of the savings onto his customers.
“Most of my customers work like me, so sometimes I don’t make much off of what I sell,” he said.
Urban Flow La Moda is located at 6 Summer St. Its business hours are 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.