chris R

Chris Rodriques - Thirsty Joe’s Café Culinary Genius

Christopher Rodriques’ passion for food has consumed the last ten years of his professional life when he first enrolled in a culinary program at Bristol Community College where he would later graduate Cum Laude. He quickly realized his future in the food industry and made his mark at Johnson & Wales University where he would later graduate Summa Cum Laude. Throughout this time, Chris became known for his entertaining and unique pairing of foods that would slide down your throat, leaving you in a heavenly oasis, something not often found within classroom walls, but within the soul.

This Fall River chef encountered an opportunity which brought him a step closer to fulfilling his lifetime dream of running his own café. Deep within the heart of Fall River, he helped design the culinary menu around “Thirsty Joe’s, Café for the Hungry Mind.” The trendy café is tucked into the first floor of the Business Innovation Center at 385 Columbia Street in Fall River, Mass, where his creativity surrounds the most exquisite pizzas, topped by none other.

The café reaches beyond great food and thirst quenching beverages, it feeds the minds of local entrepreneurs and businessmen while providing a popular spot for locals who want to indulge in local coffee and cuisine. “Our café highlights local favorites, such as Custom House coffee, providing a sustainability in the area by using local resources. we look forward to being an integral part of the future of Fall River and the BIC.” The café is reminiscent of the streets of Europe, with sleek furniture that was hand-selected and revived just for the café’s intimate space. Chris’ culinary masterpieces of exquisitely crafted pizzas bring fresh produce, coupled with flavorful coffee, pastries and the soon to be famous “Muf-kins”, right to locals in the Historic Cultural Corridor near the heart of Downtown Fall River.

To not only enjoy a discounted rate, but also the full resources the BIC offers, various levels of memberships are available, which is sure to fit perfectly into any entrepreneur or business person’s budget and schedule. In addition to membership discounts, the café will also offer events designed to unite like-minded individuals in the café for personal and professional growth, while connecting over pastries, pizza, and coffee.

Chris has several credentials and training from SafeServe to Allergen Awareness to ensure the best preservation of food, safety, and equipment. His careful attention is spent ensuring the oven and refrigeration temperatures are optimal while maintaining the ambiance of a European bistro tucked away in the heart of Fall River.

Local Artists Collaborate in Art Show Opening

water sideArt. It’s that word that means something different for everyone, even professional artists; yet, it often seems to be a link between one’s body and soul as somehow, someway it brings forth an emotion from everyone. It’s nearly impossible to stare at a piece of art, whether it’s a written piece, painting, sketch, drawing, statue, music, or pottery without it drawing some sort of emotion or thought from somewhere inside of you. At the BIC, we promote a collaborative, creative workspace environment where business professionals, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs spend their days either in private offices or shared space drawing out their creative nature, often seeking advice from other like-minded individuals in the building and solidifying their skills.

On Monday, September 10, 2018, at 6:00 pm, we are inviting the public to come and experience the breathtaking artwork of some of our local artists, which is sure to invoke some emotion, feeling, or thoughts from you as you walk through the BIC exploring the creativity within. What is even more inspiring than the works that you’ll see, is the fact that some of the artists are community youths who have already mastered their creative voice and are excited to share it with the public. All artwork is for sale and a percentage of the proceeds to benefit the ongoing educational programs at the Business Innovation Center.

Whether you’re an art fanatic who could stare at a painting for hours or a casual viewer, there is sure to be something that will have you speaking with your soul and learning more about yourself, your thoughts, and your desires. It’s simply the BIC way to shake you out of your comfort zone in a safe manner and allow you the opportunity and resources to redefine who you are and who you want to be.

 Meet our featured artists.

Fay FayFay

The 14-year-old musician hails from Bristol, Rhode Island with a love of the arts since the age of three when she first started dancing. For the last 5 years, Fay has added the guitar and singing to her artistic expression. She enjoys writing music in her free time, as well as learning her lines for an upcoming production of “The Who’s Tommy”. 

Sabrina 2.jpgb


This 18-year-old from Bristol, Rhode Island is an emerging artist who is preparing for a career as a graphic designer. During her high school years, her artistic interest surrounded the engineering/robotics world as she pursued the STEM endorsement. Near the end of her high school years, she began exploring other mediums and unearthed an uncanny eye for graphic design, sculpting, and painting. The young artist’s works can also be seen in the hand-painted Thirsty Joe’s and other signs around the BIC. Her free time is often spent with friends and family.

Melonie Pic BioMelonie Massa

While exploring the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Melonie was captivated by vintage Sailor’s Valentine for the first time. At the ripe old age of ten, her passion for the maritime treasures became the foundation of her artistic flares. The freeing life of being an artist brings her to the seashore where she hunts for the perfect treasures to transform them into even more beautiful works of arts. Revitalizing a lost art, she creates intricate flowers, jewelry, brooches, and boxes. Her one-of-a-kind pieces are sure to make you stand out with various combs, rings, bracelets, pendants, and earrings. Don’t forget about the cufflinks! And for the mermaid buried inside all of us, Melonie is sure to craft you the"perfectly you" tiara.

Jeanne 2.jpgbJeanne Cardarelli Raimondi

Her passion for creative expression has been with Jeanne for her entire life. The life-long student of art has explored various mediums, settling on oils as well as water media for her creations. Her mixed water media “Sahara” was awarded Jury acceptance to Rhode Island Watercolor Society National Competition. When her paintbrush isn’t in her hand, you can find her indulging in Nantucket Lightship Basketry or writing as she’s a published beauty and fashion editor, writing a monthly column for RI Women Newspaper. Beyond the pieces you see displayed at the BIC, Jeanne’s works grace several art museums and galleries.

Phyllis AbediPhyllis

Phyllis reminds us that it’s never, ever too late to chase your dreams. After raising her family and enjoying an intense career in the medical field, she followed her lifelong dream of being an artist as she settled into her retirement years. The versatility of acrylics became the foundation for her art medium and allows her flexibility in her painting with collage, plein air, and experimental techniques. Her love for art has led her to join an art association and to continue to learn various techniques to perfect her craft.

The art gallery at the BIC is open during regular Thirsty Joe's Café hours

Mon-Thurs 6:30 am - 8 pm, Fri 6:30 am to 9 pm, Sat 10 am - 9 pm, Sun 10 am to 4 pm

If you’re a local artist and you’re interested in participating in a future show, please find Ines at the art show and make sure she has your contact information!


Mass Dev Visit to BIC

Construction and Demolition Kicks Off with Official Tour

On the morning of February 5th, The Business Innovation Center had a visit from MassDevelopment's Community Development Vice Presidents Eleni Varitimos and Mary Ellen DeFrias. After they were greeted by staff and volunteers, they received a pre-demolition tour of the areas to be renovated—as well as an explanation of the programs and services this construction grant will affect. They expressed excitement with the potential impact of this grant on the economic and social fabric of our community through our programs such as Toastmasters club (which recently achieved Distinguished Presidential Status).

Earlier this month, the BIC began making initial progress towards our May 31 completion goal, as furniture was cleared and demolition began in the part of the building to house the future cafe facilities. Additionally, computer hardware and Virtual Reality equipment was set up and tested for when it will be rental and education—yet another of the many perks that will be made available to BIC members this summer.

The BIC has been buzzing with preparation as our architect, Anton Dias, has measured and massaged plans into place for our quirky layout and non-profit budget. "We really appreciate the work Anton's doing here." said BIC founder, Chris Nielsen "His vision for this place is helping us reach more safety and code upgrade goals that wouldn't have been possible without him steering us in the right direction."

With the architectural plan and the official grant review now complete, hiring is also underway. We have recently brought on team members to launch the cafe and grow our programs and community outreach. We are assembling a top-notch team and the calendar for our summer programs should be released in March. As a preview, we expect to have offerings available in VR program, professional development training, video streaming, multi-media production classes; as well as art shows as part of the social and educational outreach.

It's going to be an exciting few months leading up to summer; stay tuned!

Ines Profile

With new events and big projectsin the works, the BIC is so happy to welcome Ines Valenzuela-Loureiro to the Business Innovation Center.

Ines brings 11 years of management experience along with 28 years of customer service and public relations—one of her passions. She is a recent Graduate of UMass Dartmouth, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Management and Small Business Administration, with a Minor in Sociology. Ines was accepted into the MBA program at Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts In Dartmouth and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Leadership.

Through educations, mentorship, and facilitated workspaces, The BIC strives to be a place where entrepreneurship, education, and fun builds community among people from a wide variety of backgrounds and age groups. Ines has experienced first-hand the value of our community’s rich multi-cultural heritage. Born in New York, Ines was brought up in S. Miguel, Açores, and speaks Portuguese as her first language. This background provides her insight into the social and business development experiences of the thousands of immigrants, and their children, which are such an integral part of the Fall River community.

"I'm so excited to join the BIC and have an opportunity to facilitate education and outreach programs.

From a personal perspective, I'm especially looking forward to participating teen mentorship and education programs. For years I've felt drawn to helping teens. No matter how busy my schedule was, I would always make time to include my daughters' friends when they needed somewhere to go and someone to talk to. Our tiny apartment is regularly filled with young people and has become the neighborhood go-to house for teens to hang out in a safe space. It planted in me the seeds of a vision to partner with a local non-profit where I could accomplish even more to do something posative in our community."

The BIC is a place where I can help both teens and people of all ages to develop their business ideas, learn new skills and technology, and have a safe place to learn, grow, and connect with others.

We're excited to have you too Ines! This next year will have some big opportunities to connect with our community and make a difference.

BIC Virtual CoWorking

Join Us on ZOOM!


If you are participating in one of our community outreach initiatives the ZOOM link above is the link for our public meetings.

Join our collaborative efforts to help us grow our communities of communities.



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