“Such an uphill battle” – Albuquerque Journal

Nina Farrow, seen here working on her daughter Torri Farrow’s hair, is one of two black-owned business owners in Albuquerque to be honored this weekend by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Albuquerque. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Even after 36 years of hairdressing, Nina Farrow does not plan to retire.

“I’ll be behind this chair at 90,” Farrow said, although at 57 his 90s are a long way off. “I’ll be on the news: that 99-year-old woman behind the chair. … I’m going to make it hard to beat my record.

Farrow is one of two black business owners honored by the Greater Albuquerque African American Chamber of Commerce this weekend at their inaugural fundraising concert, The Celebration of Black-Owned Business in New Mexico. This weekend, AAGACC honors two of the oldest known and continuously operated Black-owned businesses in the state: Nina Farrow Hair Studio, at 6300 San Mateo NE, and Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ, which has locations at 5209 Fourth NW and 11301 Central NE.

“Black businesses have had such an uphill battle over the years,” said Karla Causey, president and CEO of AAGACC. “We started where we were forced to start our own businesses, because of Jim Crow laws. … We weren’t allowed to eat in their restaurants and we weren’t allowed to go to their salons. So we had to create our own.

Causey said the chamber is working to create a statewide registry of black-owned businesses in the state. There are already more than 600 companies on the list, although Causey said the number is likely higher. The chamber will visit several cities, including Las Cruces and Hobbs, next year to add to the registry.

Although Farrow has owned her business since 1992, she’s not one to rest on her laurels.

“Do I feel accomplished? Yes,” Farrow said. “Am I finished? Nope.”

In addition to being a licensed barber and cosmetologist, Farrow has taught at A Better U Barber Academy, workshops at the APS Career Enrichment Center, and lectures on inner beauty for the Bureau of African American Affairs of the New Mexico. She also organized a handful of hair salons. One of Farrow’s customers, now in her 90s, followed her from store to store for 35 years.

“It’s just one of those jobs — I don’t even call it a job,” Farrow said. “I don’t feel like I can do anything else. Or really, I don’t want to do anything else.

Many of his clients plan to attend the ceremony on Saturday.

“They’re just as excited as I am,” Farrow said. “They want the best for me.”

They will join Farrow’s 80-year-old parents, who she says have pushed her to success, and will also be present.

“I feel accomplished,” Farrow said. “All of my hard work and perseverance – it really hit me the other day.”

The other winner, Mr. Powdrell’s BBQ, was opened by Pete and Catherine Powdrell in 1962.

Although the original founders have passed away, son Joe Powdrell, who operates the two barbecue shops in Albuquerque with his brother Mike Powdrell, will be on hand to accept the award.

In what Joe Powdrell calls the pre-ketchup days, his grandfather Isaac Britt created a recipe with the simple name: “sauce,” using homemade raw tomatoes, onions, vinegar and sugar. He cooked the meat barbecue style with hickory wood. Britt’s recipe was then passed on to her grandson, Pete Powdrell.

Although the younger Powdrell said the open-air barbecue was becoming ‘obsolete’, and despite rising wood costs, the barbecue restaurant continues to use the labor-intensive and time-consuming process. .

Nina Farrow, shown working on her daughter Torri Farrow’s hair. After 36 years of hairdressing, Nina Farrow does not plan to retire. “Do I feel accomplished? Yes,” Farrow said. “Am I finished? No.” (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

“The commitment to honesty was more important,” Powdrell said.

He became a company employee in 1969, a recent graduate of the University of New Mexico.

But Powdrell said he had been involved in the business long before that.

“If you were in the house, you’re involved in the business,” Powdrell said.

He left the company for a few years, then returned to New Mexico in 1974, a Vietnam War veteran and father.

“Powdrell’s has grown over that time,” Powdrell said. “I kind of wanted to come in and facilitate expansion because we had a great business…Albuquerque was growing, we were growing with Albuquerque.”

Powdrell said that in addition to Powdrell’s 60 years in office, he would like to see his parents celebrated for their business acumen.

“They were good at business, they were good at treating employees, at maintaining morale,” Powdrell said.

The fundraising concert will feature a performance by Grammy-nominated husband and wife music duo, The Baylor Project. The concert will also honor two “unsung heroes” from Albuquerque’s black community: Dr. Karissa Culbreath, medical director of infectious diseases at TriCore, and Dr. Jeron Campbell, founder and principal of ACES Technical Charter School.

Two other companies will be featured via video at the event: Trendz Beauty Supply and 9 Mile Tees, both of which received prizes from Comcast including free iPads and advertising.

“Entrepreneurship has been prevalent in the black community for years,” Causey said. “It’s something we had to do initially, and now we’re doing it because it makes business sense and it also helps the community financially.”


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