Category: News

UAMS Business Launches New Shopping Website

cheetahWith the help of Upper Albany Main Street Interns, My Dream Cheetah has begun to draft new changes for their website.  Paulette Trowers-Lawrence, CEO & Founder of My Dream Cheetah has focused her business on creating toys & backpacks with an educational purpose.  Sold on Sears, Kmart, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, her business continues to grow throughout the United States.  Paulette found the need to create a new website to keep up with changing trends in the eCommerce industry.  Her new website will be available online at and will feature a new easy-to-use design, new navigation links, and an enhanced online store where customers can shop her vast array of educational products.

Upper Albany Main Street wishes Paulette Trowers-Lawrence & the Cheetah Company great success with her new website as she continues to expand her business to new areas of the country.

Paulette will be featuring a book signing event on June 1, 2014 in Hartford.  Please contact Upper Albany Main Street for additional details & free tickets.

CRL Enterprises Opens A New Line Of Personalized Products

PersonalTouch-Gifts-smallOn Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Upper Albany merchant, Rose Frett of CRL Enterprises, opened a new business selling personalized gifts through her website.  This new business is located online at, and sells custom printed name plaques that  can be printed for virtually any name in the world.   The interns at  Upper Albany Main Street helped Rose to complete the new interactive website where customers can build their own plaques, and choose their own frame designs and color options.  Once the customer is satisfied with his or her creation, their customized frames and/or plaques will be shipped to them within seven business days.

Upper Albany Main Street wishes great success for Rose’s new business venture as she continues advertising her business nationwide.

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Evay Cosmetics Recognized By SBA Regional Administrator, Seth Goodall While Visiting Connecticut

From left to right: Office of Economic Development for the City of Hartford, Stephen Cole; SBA District Director, Bernard Sweeney; US Regional Administrator Seth Goodall; Evay Owner, Vivian Akouko; Office of Economic Development for the City of Hartford, Tom Deller; D. Best; The Women’s Business Center, Sheryl McMillan; Senator Chris Murphy’s Legislative Aide, Kenny Curran, Senator Blumenthal’s Research Aide & Outreach Organizer Matt LeBeau, and SBA District Deputy Director Julio Casiano

On a recent visit to Connecticut, Seth Goodall, Regional Administrator for the US Small Business Association, came to the Upper Albany neighborhood to meet Vivian Akuoko, CEO of Evay Cosmetics.  Mr. Goodall and the other visitors chose Evay as one of the businesses that they wanted to learn more about.  Ms. Akuoko, a participant in the Upper Albany Main Street/University of Hartford’s Micro-Business Incubator, regaled the group with anecdotes of her early beginnings; the ups and downs on her quest to produce quality products, finding employees from her church home, and and recently moving the manufacturing from New York to Connecticut.

For more than 30 years, Ms. Akuoko has been on Albany Avenue.  She attributes much of her success to Upper Albany Main Street.  “Working with them is how I received my first business loan…”  With expert assistance from UHA /MBI intern, Justin, Evay’s product line has gotten a facelift, moved online and gone international.  “Exporting on a grand scale has always been a dream of mine,” says Akuoko. Now that I’ve strengthened my business knowledge, got a new marketing plan, and financing is in place, I’m ready to fly.”

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Evay Cosmetics Manufacturer, Milbar Laboratories Presents To MBI Class

Upper Albany Main Street welcomes Milbar Laboratories to the Handel Preforming Arts Center as part of their Micro Business Incubator class.  Milbar Laboratories, the sole private manufacturer of Evay Skin Care products, spoke with the class on April 17, 2014 where the students were able to gain knowledge on the internal processed of having your own brand.  Gus Bezas, President of Milbar’s Global Strategic Development Division, touched on important areas such as FDA product testing, packaging the product, testing the formula, and risk management within your own brand.

From left to right: Professor Jeffrey Cohen (Professor, University of Hartford), Dennis Desrochers (Vice President of Global Strategic Development, Milbar Laboratories), Marilyn Risi (Executive Director, Upper Albany Main Street), Vivian Akuoko (Founder & CEO of Evay Cosmetics), Gus Bezas (President of Global Strategic Development, Milbar Laboratories).

Milbar Laboratories embraces innovation with an entrepreneurial spirit that continues to drive their imaginative process; the result being an advanced science in skin care formulations that they continue to produce for companies ranging from startups to multi-billion dollar global companies.  Milbar produces products for Gap & Ulta.

The entire Upper Albany Main Street team and all of the MBI students from the University of Hartford would like to sincerely thank Milbar Laboratories as well as Vivian Akuoko, owner of Evay Cosmetics for devoting time to the success of the Micro Business Incubator program.

Shawn Wooden Speaks At Handel Performing Arts Center

Professor Jeffrey Cohen from the University of Hartford with Hartford City Council President, Shawn Wooden.

On Tuesday, April 1, the Upper Albany Main Street Micro Business Incubator(MBI) program, together with Upper Albany Main Street Director Marilyn Risi and Associate Professor of Economics, Jeffrey Cohen, welcomed Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden to their class at the Handel Performing Arts Center.

Wooden was born and raised in North Hartford, where he ran for City Council because he believes that, as a united city, we can turn problems into solutions and challenges into opportunities.  With the help of a scholarship, he was able to attend Trinity College. After working in city and state government, he continued his education, receiving a law degree from New York University School of Law.  Wooden has worked with non-profits, labor unions, business leaders, and community activists. The Connecticut Law Tribune has presented Wooden with its “Community Contributions Award.” Additionally, he was named one of “Twenty-Five Investment Professionals to Watch” by Pensions and Investments magazine and one of Hartford County’s “Forty Under 40” business leaders by the Hartford Business Journal. He was also presented with the “Alumni Medal of Excellence” by Trinity College and named one of the state’s 100 most influential blacks by the Connecticut NAACP.

As City Council President, Wooden is dedicated to working with the mayor, his colleagues on the Council, and community members throughout the city to unite Hartford behind our shared vision of opportunity and prosperity for all.

While speaking at the Handel Performing Arts Center, Wooden encouraged the students to continue supporting small business owners in the Hartford area with their knowledge and their expertise. Everyone was enthusiastic and many follow-up questions were asked by the students, who were able to grasp a better understanding of the current city development in the Hartford region.

My Dream Cheetah Expands To iTunes

My Dream Cheetah has expanded their marketing model to include sales on iTunes.  The album titled “Not Another Me,” by Lachase De Cheetah is available now at a price of 0.99 cents per song or $9.90 for the entire album, which includes 10 songs.  You can enjoy Cheetah’s custom made songs on any Apple iPhone, iPad, or iTunes desktop software program.

Upper Albany (UAMS) is very proud of this achievement and we look forward to growing her business to new levels.

Evay Cosmetics Accepted Into Sears And Kmart

evay2With continuous help from Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS), Evay Cosmetics, LLC., was accepted into Sears Holding Corporation (stock ticker SHLD:NASDAQ) on March 13, 2014. Sears Holding Corporation was founded in 1886 and has been a prominent staple in the retail industry. Sears is the third largest general merchandise retail company in the United States.

In an effort to take their Albany Avenue business global, Evay Cosmetics LLC. of Hartford, CT  is now able to expand its reach to millions of customers around the world by virtue of the fact that all 13 Evay products are now on and are available for next day shipping from Sears’ Connecticut and Georgia based warehouse locations.

This achievement came approximately three months after Evay completed the branding process that assigned Universal Product Codes (UPC) codes to all their products, which facilitated their marketing strategy to register their products with companies like Amazon, Sears, Kmart, and other national retailers.

Sears will provide this Hartford based business the opportunity to globally showcase their products in front of millions of  potential customers.  Vivian Akuoko, (CEO), and  Rhonda (her assistant), along with the entire Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS) team are proud of these noteworthy achievements.

To shop Evay’s full selection on, please click here.


Evay Cosmetics Receives Invite To Amazon’s Brand Registry Program

UntitledUpper Albany Merchants Association (UAMA) member, Vivian Akuoko of Evay Cosmetics has been invited to Amazon’s Brand Registry program.  This invitation- only program is sought after by many start-up businesses.  Membership is offered to large companies such as Hasbro Toys, Chanel, Dell Computers, Rolex, and other corporations. This is truly a special honor for this fast-growing Albany Avenue business and UAMS commends Evay for their great achievement.

Located at 1465 Albany Avenue, Evay Cosmetics has 13 products currently in production and caters to a large audience of people who are looking to beautify their skin.  With the help from Upper Albany Main Street, the company released their skin care line on Amazon in order to reach a global audience.  Amazon’s Brand Registry will enable Evay to receive a more targeted presence on, thereby making her brand more distinct than other smaller cosmetic companies.


CHEETAH™ Books Now Sold In Barnes & Noble And Amazon

With help from Upper Albany Main Street, Dr. Paulette Trowers-Lawrence has released a collection of children’s books and musical CD’s, which are now being sold in Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, eBay UK, and other popular global retail sites.  The books were released on January 2, 2014, and they have already been accepted by more than 20 retailers.

CHEETAH™ Books & Educational Plush Toys are dedicated to delivering higher education through fun and interactive activities to all children. With a focus on fatherhood, devoted fathers may visit and take the pledge to support and provide their children with a nuturing and safe home.  CHEETAH™ utilizes proprietary plush and stuffed backpacks (often with music), plush dancing and singing toys, books, puzzles, songs, audio CD, mascot, and our puppet. The company’s tools coupled with enrichment programs within schools, among other things, are the vehicles used to deliver our message of a “no-excuse attitude” towards learning.

To view all books published by CHEETAH™ and follow the animals on Bag of Baggins Islands, please visit Barnes & Noble:

Park Street Business Reports Major Increase In Sales

22With help from Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS), Karibu Clothing & Gifts, located on Park Street in Hartford, CT had a lot to cheer about over the Christmas holidays.  Karibu which retails African American clothing, cultural gifts, and fabrics has experienced a tremendous increase in their online e-commerce sales over the period of November through December 2013.    They received orders from across the United States and the month of December proved to be the largest percentage of online sales growth for the company since it was established in 2003.

Karibu Clothing & Gift store is continuing to grow steadily through their online e-commerce platform.  Visit Karibu Clothing & Gifts online at