Darvence Chery The Enterprise, Brockton, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Darvence Chery reports, "From selling homemade bread and doing odd jobs throughout Boston to get by, [Sola] Ajao has now realized her dream and has opened her own African market."
There are "five love languages," according to author and pastor Gary Chapman — words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.
Randolph food entrepreneur Sola Ajao would add a sixth, the sharing of food.
From selling homemade bread and doing odd jobs throughout Boston to get by, Ajao has now realized her dream and has opened her own African market.
Destiny African Market has opened its doors at 502 South Main St. in Randolph. Selling a variety of African-based foods as well as food from the Caribbean, Ajao is living out her dream that she believes has always been a part of her fate.
"This is what I've wanted since I was 12 years old. This is what I've been destined to do," she said.
Originally from Nigeria, Ajao moved to America in the late 1980s, spending some time in Florida before settling in Massachusetts.
She has been in Randolph for over 21 years and has worked as a licensed caterer selling her own homemade foods, but with her new business she has begun using vendors as well.
She sells foods like seasonings, yams and noodles, as well as her own packaged melon seeds.
"We are not like traditional markets where you come in and it's hard to find things. We are family run, we want you to stick around. We have so many different ethnic products," she said. According to the 2020 Census, 44 percent of Randolph's population identified as Black or African American, the highest demographic in the town.
The market is also a variety store, selling non-food products like handbags, lotion and medication, among many other items.
"Beyond just like selling food, we want people to spend time here, feel happy, be vibrant and feel like they always have a place to come," said Ajao's daughter Adebukola Ajao, who handles the marketing for Destiny African Market.
Sola Ajao currently runs the market mostly on her own with help from her husband but is actively seeking help as her opening date was Nov. 1.
She's been working towards getting her own space for about five years after primarily being a caterer across Massachusetts and hopes to continue to renovate and expand the new space.
There will be a grand opening on Nov. 27 as a part of Small Business Saturday, a shopping holiday that falls during the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping season.
The grand opening is expected to include an appearance by state Sen. Walter Timilty, a Milton Democrat whose district includes Randolph.
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