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Destiny African Market provides cuisine from all over Africa to local community

Huntington News | Sola Ajao owns and operates Destiny African Market in Randolph, which is a family-run business. It sells real Afro-Caribbean cuisine to consumers from all over Massachusetts and is one of the only markets of its sort in the area. Customers can find goods like cassava grain, dried fish, and Sola Ajao's own moin-moin, a West African bean cake, imported from a range of African countries.

Destiny African began as a catering company almost 20 years ago. Sola Ajao stated that she intended to fill a void in her neighborhood by opening a local African cuisine business. Her goal to create an extensive African food network in the area stemmed from her enthusiasm for preparing cultural meals for her community.

The brick-and-mortar shop launched in November 2021, despite COVID-19 limitations that hampered business owners.

"I think that God's time is always correct," Sola Ajao stated, despite the pandemic. "I just knew it was the correct thing to do when I spotted this location, so I jumped at the chance."

The market has witnessed a steady inflow of clients after less than a year in operation. Friends and family were among of her first customers, thanks to the contacts she has built within the African community. Customers like the real food, spices, fruits, and snacks sold because they can't find them anyplace else in Massachusetts, says Edosa Osemwegie, 23, from Benin City, Nigeria.

"I went in one day and was really blown away," said Osemwegie. "It was as if I were reliving my childhood in Nigeria." Because I haven't gone back in years, I've been missing several specialties and snacks that I haven't been able to have."

While there are local restaurants that provide cultural foods, Sola Ajao claims that Destiny African is the only location that recreates the atmosphere of an actual African market. Sola Ajao makes use of her import license to ensure that the freshest ingredients are delivered to her store.

"It's quite difficult to find these items in this location," Sola Ajao explained, "so I constantly try to get dishes from different nations to sell to a variety of individuals." "We don't simply sell African food; we also sell Caribbean food because there's a large Caribbean population here." "I'd like for everyone to feel at ease."

Destiny African has a sizable and active following on social media. The market updates its Instagram account many times a day and frequently engages with customers there.

Adefikayo Ajao, Sola Ajao's daughter, is the market's social media manager. She creates and writes captions for the company's Instagram account. She's contacted Instagram influencers and invited them to visit the shop. In exchange, the influencers provide product reviews on the shop's website.

Adefikayo Ajao added, "They were genuinely thrilled to do it." "They all enjoyed the cuisine and created social media content to promote it." Every time one of these influencers gave us a shoutout on their page, we witnessed an increase in followers."

Sacha Eats, Chop Daily, and Nigerian Foodie Hub are among the influencers that have generated content to promote the market's food. Customers come in every day after discovering the market on social media. Their interest has resulted in a broader group of people supporting Sola Ajao and her endeavors.

"I'd heard about the market, but it wasn't until I saw it on Instagram that I was more interested in learning more about it." The store is really engaging, which I enjoyed. Now I inform everyone about it because I believe it is important for everyone to know," Osemwegie stated.

Sola Ajao has her sights set on the future and intends to grow her company as much as possible, according to her. Her ambitions go beyond the market and moin-moin: she wants to create a restaurant and more stores to bring her food to a wider audience.

"My ultimate objective is to start my own restaurant," Sola Ajao stated, adding, "I want to sell more of my own dishes." "Cooking has always been a part of my life, and I've been doing it since I was a child." I'd like to see more people consume my food and shop at my store."

She's worked with food companies like Golden Tropics and OrchidLand to sell their products in her store. Sola Ajao feels that the store's diversity will attract more customers and provide them with access to their ethnic foods. She hopes to have her own food goods offered on the shelves of other markets in the future, but she recognizes that other businesses like hers will take time to arrive in her neighborhood.

"As I previously stated, I am a firm believer in God's timing and will," Sola Ajao remarked.

"Things will happen in my life as they will, and I trust that he will lead me on my trip." I'm looking forward to what comes next in my life, but for now, I have a fantastic business."

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