World art and goods
When Peggy Peterson first visited Ghana in 1974 as a student, she instantly fell in love with the West African nation – “the amazing sense of adventure, the freedom and the unpredictability of life in Africa,” she said.
To fund subsequent trips to Ghana, Peterson began buying straw hats and baskets from Ghana and selling them in the United States. That’s how she started her importing business, which has expanded into two stores in downtown Nevada City – Asylum Down on Broad Street and Yabobo around the corner on North Pine Street.
Asylum Down sells everything from ornate Moroccan mirrors to women’s clothes from Indonesia, to jewelry from India, to a staggering stock of African musical instruments and other miscellaneous merchandise from around the world.
Yabobo is a Cuban rhythm, while Asylum Down is the name of a suburb in Accra, the capital of Ghana, said Peterson, who’s lived in Nevada City for the 28 years.
“I personally import items from Africa and Indonesia,” Peterson said. “But I also have friends in different parts of the U.S. who have similar businesses, and I buy from them, as well.”
Doing a business linked with various countries is “something that comes naturally to me,” Peterson said.
“I really love traveling, but I also like to have a purpose when I go to a place,” she said.
Peterson has an instinctive ability to pick up the right items for her stores, she said.
“I don’t pay much attention to what’s trendy or not, I just buy things I like,” she said. “I don’t try to predict too much if others are going to like it or not. I’m just doing what I love.”
Yabobo and Asylum Down together gross about $850,000 in sales a year, Peterson said.
“Our clientele consists of people of all types and all ages,” she said. “We appeal to such a huge range of customers, perhaps because we have things of various prices in our stores.”
Peterson’s love for Ghana has endured. She visits the country at least once a year. She also has adopted a boy and a girl from Ghana, both of whom attend the Nevada City School of the Arts, she added.
“I could have stayed in Ghana and never come back,” she said, with a smile.
“But I didn’t do that, because my parents would be upset.”
To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4229.
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