The BLESS fund helps reopen local small businesses

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Latosha Boadu says she was really happy to start her own business, but her journey wasn’t easy.

Now she tells how she was able to stay open when the cards were stacked against her.

“Only the normal nine-to-five wasn’t for me, I have children and they were sick. And I needed a foundation where I could help people and myself,” said Latosha Boadu, owner of Oya’s Market.

Boadu left the medical field a few years ago to become her own boss.

“Often we don’t have a safe place to explore spirituality, so my dream has been to have a business where people can feel comfortable and learn how to explore their spirituality,” she told Boadu.

She first opened a store as ABQ Apotheosis in 2021. Business was booming when people discovered her shop, but then everything came to a halt after a massive flood.

β€œIt’s been about five months since we had to close this store. And starting over was hard, you know?” said Bodu. “We lost a lot of inventory, we lost a lot of products and customers.”

She was forced to go back to a “normal” job, but she just couldn’t do it. That’s when she found the Albuquerque “BLESS” fund, led by Jay Wilson, and received a grant to reopen.

“It’s so different than trying to apply for business loans and business grants. If you are a small business and don’t really get recognized and you haven’t had the opportunity to create your report and do the things you are looking for. Then you know nobody wants to give you that chance,” Boadue said.

But the BLESS fund did, and the grant allowed it to reopen.

Boadu says it was an uphill battle, but one she wouldn’t change.

“It’s about believing in yourself and believing in your dreams and following those dreams no matter how many times people say, ‘Oh no, that’s silly,'” Boadu said.

Boadu says she was also able to create a website to attract more customers that way.

For related stories: Tamara Lopez


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