New Biz: CaribAfrica celebrates Grand Opening
The City of Welland Deputy Mayor Jim Larouche and members of the community helped CaribAfrica Specialty Store owner Naomie Cesar (cutting ribbon) celebrate her grand opening Friday.
A combination of Caribbean hair products and Caribbean food products make up CaribAfrica Specialty Store, a new shop in downtown Welland. The shop held its grand opening Friday at 234 East Main St.
“We welcome you to the downtown core,” Deputy Mayor Jim Larouche said at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The City of Welland wishes you all the best success in this new business.”
For owner Naomie Cesar, the event was made special by the support of her friends, family and fellow members of Welland’s Haitian community who turned out to support the new business.
The idea came to Cesar when she had come to Canada from Haiti after being in the United States for a short while.
There were hair care products popular in the Caribbean that couldn’t be found in Canada.
“When I came here, I couldn’t by hair products for my hair,” she said. “I found a supplier of products that would send to Canada, so I thought ‘Okay time to do a business plan around this.’”
For example there’s a texturizer used in Haiti that people couldn’t get in Niagara. There’s also a hair relaxer that’s available.
“Some people like it straight,” Cesar said. “They can get their hair relaxer and extensions for the summer time.”
At the time she was doing work with the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre. Through this she built a client base through the Welland, Fort Erie and Niagara Falls Cultural Centres.
“They started asking about getting Caribbean food,” Cesar said. “They wanted to find the cornmeal, wheat and spices that they were used to.”
“There is a need for it, but, there was no store like that in Welland,” she said.
“People are going to feel more at home,” she said. “There’s a fruit champagne cola from Haiti that everyone loves, people don’t have it here, when they know I have it here, everybody will start coming and get it here, and feel more like home.”
Hours of operation are Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
CaribAfrica Specialty Store is located at 234 East Main St. in Welland. Their Twitter is https://twitter.com/CaribAfrica16 and you can find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/kokoyeafrocarib/?fref=nf