‘BLESS’ fund helps reopen local small business

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Latosha Boadu says she’s found real happiness getting to start her own business, but her journey wasn’t an easy one. 

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

“Just the regular 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 help myself as well,” said Latosha Boadu, owner of Oya’s Market. 

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

“A lot of times, we don’t have a safe place to be able to explore spirituality, and so it was my dream to be able to have a shop where people can feel comfortable, and learning how to explore their spirituality,” said Boadu. 

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

“It’s been about five months, since we had to close that shop. And starting over, it was hard, you know?” Boadu said. “We lost a lot of inventory, we lost a lot of product and, and customers.”

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

“It’s such a difference than trying to apply for business loans and business grants. When you’re a small business, and you’re not really recognized, and you haven’t had the opportunity to build your report and do the things that they looking for. Then you know, nobody wants to give you that chance,” said Boadue. 

But the BLESS fund did, and with the grant she could reopen. 

Boadu says it’s been 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 much people say ‘Oh, no, that’s silly,’” said Boadu.  

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