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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Faith Guides Local Business Owner, Hair Stylist

Lataysha Sherretta

By Rachel Rogish

WILDWOOD – The sun shined bright along Pacific Avenue, in Wildwood, May 1. People greeted each other, as they strolled by. Music, lively with drumbeats and guitars, greeted onlookers, as they entered the PanAmerica Hair Salon and Barbershop.
Lataysha Sherretta welcomed customers and friends with smiles. A zest for life permeates her life and craft. Faith blooms along this city street, planted in hard times and harvested in hope. 
City Grit 
“It wasn’t easy,” Sherretta said May 1. 
Before the workday began, Sherretta met with Faith Matters, in her salon. 
Born in Panama, Sherretta came to Wildwood with her family, in 1989, when she was 6. 
“I didn’t know any English,” she said. 
She described her family as “strict.” 
As a young girl, Sherretta walked Wildwood’s streets, trying to fit in and looking formeaning. 
“Pacific Avenue is a landmark of my life,” she said, in previous comments.
At 15, she became a mom. Sherretta left Wildwood High School, setting out on her own. 
“I didn’t get good advice,” Sherretta said, referring to her peers. 
Without papers, marriage was her only option to stay in America. She married, but later divorced. 
Yet, Sherretta persevered, loving her two children and learning to become a better parent. She obtained her residency and found a mentor in the Caring for Kids parent educators’ program. 
Debbie Brash loved and taught her, according to Sherretta. Today, Sherretta serves in the same program, as a bilingual educator. 
Breaking Through
In 2015, Sherretta opened her salon and barbershop. The store is a historic building, part of the landscape for generations. 
“Someone gave me a chance,” Sherretta said. 
She invested her first $5,000 into renovations, but could not open until a wall came down, incorporating both sides of the building into one shop.Before that, the inspector told her she could not open because of being 22 feet “too short.”
However, the landlord allowed her to break down the adjacent wall and expand. Sherretta praises God for showing his love through answered prayer. 
“God humbled me,” she said. 
May 1 marked the salon’s sixth anniversary. Six stylists joined the ranks. 
“We are a Christian salon, and we are not ashamed,” Sherretta said. 
She attends the Carpenter Shop, in Wildwood, with her second husband, for services. 
Bold Ministry
Sherretta looks back over her journey with joy and tears. Together with her husband, she formed Bold Ministry, an outreach into Wildwood. 
“We are out in the community,” Sherretta explained. 
By mentoring and helping others, Sherretta’s faith continues to burn bright. 
The salon is recovering financially from the economic impact of Covid. Sherretta said “full recovery” may take two or three years. She is working to catch up on rent and other bills. 
“It was scary,” she said. 
However, she refuses to live in fear. 
“We need to keep our laughter,” she said. 
She wants the salon to be a place where locals can come and feel loved. 
Sherretta earned her GED certificate and is working on finishing a master’s degree. Her family includes four children, and she owns a home in Rio Grande. 
“I’m still an immigrant, but I’m an American in my heart,” Sherretta concluded. 
Faith Matters is an ongoing series exploring the connection between individuals and their faith, impacting their families, community, and beyond. Those with a story of faith to share should contact the writer at rrogish@cmcherald.com. 

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