Chapman Construction: The Woman-Owned, Veteran-Owned Business Lighting Up Boston

By Ranelle Porter,

By Nicholas Conley | March 18, 2019 | 4 Minute Read

At first glance, Chapman Construction Group, Inc. (CCGI) looks like many other businesses in the Boston region. And as a small company built on hard work, dedication, and experience, Chapman Construction understands that the only thing that truly matters in this industry is results. What’s unique about CCGI—other than their proven track record—is that they’re a woman-owned company in one of the most male-dominated industries.

The “Chapmans” are Vicki Chapman, the founder and president, and Sue Chapman, a veteran who joined in as CEO in 2009. Together, they’ve built a tough brand that breaks stereotypes and helps new apprentices get into the field.

The Only Woman on the Job

When talking about her decades of experience in the construction industry, Vicki is quick to point out that while construction isn’t an easy job for anyone, it’s especially challenging for women. “You have to be extra strong as a woman in this business,” she says. “Number one, it’s physical, and number two, it’s mental. . . it’s like working with all your brothers. You have to deal with them, you know.”

When Vicki first started, the union had barely started to admit women into its ranks, and she wasn’t accepted by her male coworkers. “It was very hard. . . [and] there were no bathrooms for us.” Explaining further, she says, “They didn’t want to show you the work because they didn’t want you to get paid the same amount of money as them. . . they didn’t think you could do the same job as them. So, they would hide stuff from you or not teach you anything. Every single job you went on, you had to re-prove yourself.”

Vicki was usually the one woman on the job. “When I got into the apprenticeship, there were five girls in my class. I’m the only one left. And I’ll tell you, out of those girls, some of them quit because they couldn’t take it anymore. They couldn’t get out of bed and go to work at a job that they hated, and where they would always constantly be put down.”

Chapman Construction Group, Inc. is Born

Nonetheless, she stuck through it, and in 2002 she started her own business. Though women being in the industry was rare, and female owners were even rarer, Vicki calculated that the worst case scenario would have been going broke, closing up shop, and returning to work for someone else. Thankfully, that didn’t happen—the company held up even through tough times, and she loved her newfound freedom. In 2009, her original partner departed, paving the way for Sue Chapman to enter the fold as the company’s CEO.

However, Sue’s first career track was in science, after which she joined the military as a way to finish college. From basic training onward, she regularly found herself elevated to leadership positions. She believes this to be a side effect of growing up as the oldest of five kids. If her unit hadn’t disbanded, she might still be in the service today. “I feel like I’m more disciplined because of it.”

Since Sue and Vicki started working together, both women have combined their individual strengths to push the company to new heights. A big moment, as they tell it, was when Eastern Bank approved them for their first loan. Their support in Chapman team has encouraged them to continue using their services today.

Moving Forward

As they march into the future, the Chapmans have kept their love and dedication for their company and loyal workers well in sight. They’re remarkably humble about how groundbreaking their woman- and veteran-owned business is. “[Being a woman-owned business] opens more doors, but you [still] have to go through them.” The industry has continued to evolve since CCGI first started, in ways that Chapman Construction see as positives.

The Chapmans make it a point to break down doors for other women to enter the industry. For example, when they call the union for new workers, they’re quick to hire women because they understand how difficult it can be to find work as a woman within the construction industry.

Learn more about how the Chapman Construction Group, Inc. is providing opportunities for women to enter a more male-dominated industry.

Making an Impact in the Lynn Community with April’s Pub & Restaurant

By Ranelle Porter,

By Satta Sarmah Hightower | March 18, 2019 | 3 Minute Read

April’s Pub & Restaurant has been serving diverse dishes from fried green plantains and steak mofongo to corned beef hash and chicken marsala to the Lynn community since 1999. The restaurant, which has been a staple in this North Shore town, reflects the owners’ Dominican roots and their whole-hearted embrace of their adopted community. After emigrating from the Dominican Republic in 1989, brothers Roger and Julio Garcia worked together in Salem before eventually pursuing their own ventures in the restaurant world. They then decided to reunite and open their own restaurant in Lynn.

“Working with my brother has been a dream all my life, and it was my father’s dream,” Roger says.

Creating a Presence in the Lynn Community

Launching the restaurant in Lynn was a no-brainer for the brothers. They’ve lived in the community for nearly 30 years and recently, they’ve seen a resurgence in the area, with new development along the city’s waterfront and business corridor. “Lynn is a very unique city, and if you really notice lately, a lot of people are actually moving into Lynn. We have people from all over the place coming. It’s very diverse,” Julio says.

Thanks to a small business loan from Eastern Bank, the brothers were able to open their restaurant in a building downtown. “They opened up the door for us to be able to purchase the building and the whole process was very simple and easy,” Roger says. “[They] even checked on us to see how we were doing after we purchased the building. It makes you feel good, and it makes you feel that there is someone out there that actually cares.”

Fostering a Sense of Community

The brothers worked 17 hours a day, every day to get their business off the ground the first year. The restaurant is the embodiment of the Garcia brothers’ hard work as well as their love for their community and family. Named after Julio’s daughter, April, who has special needs, April’s Pub & Restaurant is meant to bring an essence of heart and joy to the community of Lynn—the same heart and joy that April brings to the family every day.

“She’s such a blessing and I believe that she brings us good luck. The thought of the restaurant is to bring people together,” Roger says. “We always try to keep the name up, and we want to make sure people recognize what [the restaurant is] all about.”

But that isn’t the only thing that makes April’s Pub unique. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—you can get buttermilk pancakes all day long or stop by around dinner for chicken broccoli alfredo. The brothers say that customers jokingly call the restaurant “the embassy” because it’s such a community gathering place. Roger says that its roots in the community is what has helped the brothers forge such a strong relationship with Eastern Bank. The bank’s Join Us For Good initiative, in particular, shows its willingness to help underserved groups and advocate for social justice causes.

“When you see a company like Eastern Bank doing that, it encourages us to do more for the community,” he says. “That’s what we all should do to be a better community.”

Visit April’s Pub & Restaurant in Lynn for a diverse taste of food and community members.