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!