The African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce (AAGACC) honored Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ and the Nina Farrow Hair Studio, the oldest black-owned businesses in the city, at their inaugural fundraising event on Nov. 5.
“It took me all of this time to feel like, ‘Okay, you know what? I think I’ve done something.’ It brought to light all my years of hard work,” said Farrow, a licensed cosmetologist and shop-owner. She explained that the award helped her realize the struggles she has overcome in the last 30 years. Farrow was a single mom of two children and continued to work through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Aside from working with clients, Farrow also involves herself in the community. Farrow was a facilitator with the Young Girl Summit and empowered middle-school girls of color to love their hair and skin. Farrow was instrumental in putting on the hair show through the Black Expo. She has also taught classes across multiple institutions and to parents who adopt children with curly hair through CYFD (NM Children, Youth & Families Dept.).
Farrow said that many of the community events she was involved in have been postponed due to the pandemic but are “getting revved up again.”
“It’s like everyone had to do a jumpstart,” Farrow said.
Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ, a Black-owned restaurant that has been in operation since 1962, was also honored at the event.
“It is an honor to recognize both the Powdrell Family and Ms. Farrow for their longevity, triumphs and contributions to our community. We all can draw inspiration from their success,” AAGACC President and CEO Karla D. Causey said. “In a climate of widening inequalities and persisting racial disparities, it is imperative to empower Black entrepreneurs to sustain and scale their companies – doing so can create a more stable and prosperous economy.”
Also celebrated at the event were Dr. Karissa Culbreath, medical director for infectious disease at TriCore and chair of the American Board of Medical Microbiology, and Dr. Jeron T. Campbell, founder and director of ACES Technical Charter School.
According to Causey, the AAGACC’s primary goal is to develop and empower economic opportunities for Black business within New Mexico. However, Causey made it clear that the AAGACC will help any business, not just Black-owned ones.
“One of the reasons they started the chamber is [that] historically, Black people have been left out. Especially, and even still, in the state of New Mexico, we still hear it called ‘a tri-cultural state’ all of the time and we have been a part of New Mexico since the early 1900s and we just want to make sure that Black businesses are included,” Causey said.
The chamber has largely focused on the greater Albuquerque area but will be expanding its services to the entire state in the coming year.