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Achuziam Maha-Sanchez is the owner of Peace and RIOT, a department store-style home goods and gift boutique in Brooklyn, New York. The current location is not the first of its kind, as Maha-Sanchez opened the first store back in 2013, that she had to close.
Maha-Sanchez explains that the neighborhood wasn’t yet ready for that type of shop — the infrastructure wasn’t there: “You couldn’t get a Sunday Times delivered out there.”
Years later, a project Maha-Sanchez completed near Central Park earned her the money to open a new location. Maha-Sanchez chose to create her store in the image of a department store for several reasons.
“I knew that when I moved to this larger space, I wouldn’t have enough money to merchandise everything myself,” she says. Plus, she wanted to bring others along with her. So she sublet parts of her location to a jewelry designer and vintage clothing vendor when she first opened.
Having each vendor promoting through their respective social media channels and websites was successful in bringing in customers. Today, the store carries home goods, children’s items, gifts, books, decor and more.
When thinking about a legacy, Maha-Sanchez says it is important to her that her son sees that being successful and building wealth is accessible to him, as a Black and Latino child. From a young age, her son was working in the store. Maha-Sanchez wanted him to get comfortable talking to customers, knowing that “Communication is the foundation of any job.” She brings her son to trade shows and he acts as a buyer for children’s products. Leaving a legacy, Maha-Sanchez says, means “Leaving power…leaving opportunity for the people who are coming behind you.”