Brothers Paul and Anthony Ramirez grew up in the Bronx, and have made it their goal to improve the borough’s image. They’ve turned their neighborhood pride into two thriving businesses: From The Bronx and The Bronx Beer Hall. These brands are now the hub of a growing community of Bronx artists, makers, brewers, and neighbors. We took a camera to visit Paul and Anthony, and asked them about how they got started and how they use their Jimdo sites to reach Bronx fans around the world.
What makes the Bronx so special?
Paul: The Bronx is just a special place to us overall. You get this town pride, and you don’t really see it within the five boroughs in New York City.
Anthony: To me the Bronx is family, the Bronx is community. The Bronx is the majority of my life. The Bronx has a pretty negative reputation, both within the US and around the world. The whole reason we are in business today is to let the rest of the world know that the Bronx is where it’s at. It’s a great place to own a business, raise a family, to live your life.
Tell us more about “From the Bronx.”
Anthony: We started From the Bronx with the mission to improve the image of the borough.
I was looking for Bronx themed posters and images that I could put in classrooms to show young people more about where they’re from…and they just didn’t exist. I couldn’t find anything besides maybe a Yankees poster, a couple of images from the Bronx Zoo. So after a lot of conversation back and forth, we decided that we would just rent a helicopter and take some photographs of the borough, and just create these images ourselves. That’s how For the Bronx started in 2006.
And then you followed that up with the Bronx Beer Hall?
Anthony: It was kind of a no-brainer for us to try to help expand the Bronx craft beer scene. We knew of local brewers who were brewing in the borough, and it was a perfect place for them to showcase their product. It’s something that we’re proud of, that our community has embraced, and is excited about, and that alone makes it one of my favorite places in the borough.
What influenced your decision to start a Jimdo site?
Paul: Now that we have these great brands, the issue is, how do we get this out to the masses? There are a lot of people all over the country who have this incredible nostalgia for the Bronx. We get so many requests via social media: “where can I get a beer hall tshirt, I haven’t lived in the Bronx for 15 years, and my cousin told me about your place, I just want a tshirt, I just want a mug.” So it’s like, what better thing to do than to create an ecommerce website to sell our own merchandise right from our own website. And that’s how we ended up transferring everything over to Jimdo.
Anthony: We started with Jimdo for From the Bronx, and it’s worked out very well for us. We love the ease of tracking our inventory, emailing customers when their shipments go out. Jimdo has lowered our costs because our time is valuable. If we had to spend the amount of time that we used to spend on our website, then we wouldn’t have as much time to do all the other things we want to do.
Have you found that having a web presence has helped your businesses?
Paul: Even though we have a strong social media presence, a lot of our customers just want to get all of their information from one place. They don’t want to have to click to Instagram or Facebook. They’d rather see one web page.
Anthony: There are people who have connected to us via the internet just because we have a web presence. Otherwise, they never would have heard of us. Today we’re the number one creator and seller of Bronx themed merchandise in the world. We also have the largest social network following of any Bronx organization…aside from the Yankees, which…you know, [laughs] is still not bad competition to have.
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