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AFRO-CAN gifts and crafts

Afro-Can is a store created from two cultures: African heritage past and Canadian location present. It reflects the owner in its diversity of products, brightness, and fun atmosphere. It is a totally different type of store from many seen in Northern NB. It carries hair extensions and wigs; hair products for non-Caucasian types of hair; beautiful purses from Italy, India, Africa and New York at amazingly affordable prices; art and carvings from Africa; belly dancing clothing from India, and so much more. Unique, fun and spicy sums up Afro-Can and its owner Becky Campbell.

Becky Campbell is an inspirational woman who has been in business her whole life – from selling rice and cobs of corn to survive in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to owning a specialized boutique in the Miramichi, New Brunswick, her story is one of perseverance, optimism and vision. She is also the author of an autobiography called “Strong and Free”

This multitalented entrepreneur is full of energy and when she wasn’t able to find work in her field (she has certification in working with special needs individuals) in the Miramichi, she decided to open up her own business. The idea for Afro-Can jumped into her head when a fruitless search of both the Miramichi and Bathurst turned up no products for her type of hair. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Becky opened her store in February of 2010 and hasn’t stopped growing since. She has big plans for Afro-Can, including other locations and even a restaurant specializing in African and Canadian cuisine.

“Opening a business in Canada is very different from doing business in Africa. In Africa it takes very little money; here the government is in control of everything so it is much more complicated. In Africa a family can live on $100 for a whole month; here you can spend $100 at the mall without even noticing it. It is a very different way to live and do business here in Canada.” She gives high praise to her Women in Business NB development officer for helping her navigate the roads of Canadian entrepreneurship. “Nadine and the Northumberland CBDC were so good to me in helping me get started. I am very confident that I will be successful because I know that they are there to support me.”

Becky is all about the customer’s experience. She believes that the customer is always right and that you should do everything to please them – that you should do more than is expected. To that end she keeps ice-cream for the children and snacks at the counter for the adults that come into her store as an added treat. She creates a warm, fun, memorable visit so that even if people don’t purchase something right away, they will remember her. Becky believes in the power of positive word of mouth and knows that great customer service is the cornerstone to a successful retail enterprise.

Her best piece of advice is, “Try and fail, try again! It’s no disgrace to keep trying. Try something new, the world is changing ~ do something fun!”

Definitely words to grow by!

www.strongandfree.net

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"I would like to thank you for picking Ben's Clothing for the retail consulting makeover.  I very much enjoyed talking to Barbara.  She has wonderful insites on what to do to refresh my store.  I was extremly excited of the ideas put together thats in my budget for now and also in the near future.
 
The 1st part of the seminar, had opened my eyes to the reality of my challenges and concerns, statistics, operating cost and marketing which is a huge part that can not be ignored. It's a must to have a list of issues to know it and control it.  This is a large part of my battles that I face but placed them in the back burner. 
 
When Barbara came into my store I wasn't sure what to expect because in the seminar she was leaning towards makeovers for a new store or toronto style store.  I had no idea that a little bit of paint in a different color will bring out what I want to promote.  She had alot of new ideas that are in the budget and I'm going to make it happen!
 
Thank you again for filling me in with the seminars that are offered.  I'm always willing to get informed and always moving forward."

- Hazel McLean


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