The North Flatbush Business Improvement District is fortunate to house an abundant variety of women-owned businesses. In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase a few of these extraordinary female entrepreneurs over the course of the next few weeks.
Charmaine Gumbs is is one of our longest standing North Flatbush business owners — Sugarcane Restaurant (238 Flatbush Ave) has been on the Avenue for 17 years. Voted Best Caribbean restaurant in New York, Sugarcane offers an experience reminiscent of the island, blending the exotic cuisine of the Caribbean with its African, East Indian and Chinese roots. Great cocktails, lively music, and a generally relaxing atmosphere have made the restaurant a hit for customers of all ages and demographics.
Not surprisingly, Gumbs decided to become an entrepreneur because of her love of food and entertaining. Oprah has been a huge inspiration to her in her entrepreneurial journey, and she’s grown to live by the mentality that absolutely anything is possible. Gumbs appreciates all of the women-owned businesses on North Flatbush, but especially loves NailBed — hard working women (and men!) deserve a great manicure!
Eladia Causil-Rodriguez of Eladia’s Kids (264 Flatbush Ave) is another of our tenured North Flatbush entrepreneurs — she’s continued to grow and improve her childcare business over the course of 39 years, and has been a staple to the North Flatbush community for 19 years. Eladia’s Kids provides excellent infant care and early childhood education to children ages 3 months to 5 years old, offering a safe, nurturing environment designed to develop a child’s social and academic skills with a strong emphasis on building lifelong learners. In addition to North Flatbush, Eladia’s Kids is also in Fort Greene, Greenpoint, Cobble Hill, and on Park Slope 5th Avenue.
When asked why she became a business owner, Rodriguez tells us that her goal was “to create a business where I could express my passion for providing a safe and nurturing environment for children while providing the same for my own family.”
Rodriguez is inspired by female leaders, including her mother Julia Berrio and Heroine of Colombian Independence Policarpa Salavarrieta. She also looks up to entrepreneur Helen Tupper, founder and CEO of Amazing If, a company which aims to help individuals and organizations develop the skills they need to succeed.
Mandy Wynn of BKLYN Larder (228 Flatbush ave) is, comparatively, one of our newer North Flatbush business owners. BKLYN Larder is a retail cheese and provisions shop specializing in sustainably produced ingredients, and has been providing the Park Slope and Prospect Heights community with a welcoming place to find and enjoy hand-crafted cheeses, homemade prepared foods, and hard-to-find grocery items since 2009. Larder aims to be a positive force in the neighborhood, and follows an environmentally responsible business model, which includes using wind power, water and energy-efficient appliances, and packaging made from recycled and/or biodegradable materials.
Wynn comes from a family of entrepreneurs and leaders: “My father is an entrepreneur and my mother a retired judge. The two of them inspired me to work hard and for myself. But I chose the food and hospitality industry because I was most interested in connecting with my community. I love serving the North Flatbush community, introducing them to amazing small batch makers and artisan food producers, and getting to know them through our daily interactions,” she says.
In her journey as an entrepreneur, she was inspired by her mother, who showed her that women can succeed in a traditionally male-centered world. Wynn came of age during the Anita Hill hearings, and derived inspiration from Hill’s willingness to demand respect for women in the workplace, and speak up for herself to an American nation that was largely complicit in allowing women’s experiences to be marginalized. “Anita Hill opened my mind to the realities of joining the workforce as a woman. Her experience and her willingness to share it with our country inspire me to create a business that can lead by example and employ a diverse personnel who all deserve respect.”