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Candy store mentors Black girls in business

Updated: Apr 17

Aretta-Rie Johnson helps out a young girls at her business, Fairy Tooth Candy Store, in St. Paul.

Aretta-Rie Johnson opened The Tooth Fairy candy store to employ young Black girls and equip them with the tools they need to succeed.

Johnson says she was inspired by her desire to raise a daughter. Johnson had three biological sons, and thought about ways she could nurture the lives of young Black women.

“I ended up being a foster mom, I fostered some girls, then I adopted a girl. And then I had a granddaughter. One thing led to another and we opened a group home for girls. And now we're here.”

Johnson is also the CEO of DIVINE Institute. The DIVINE Institute is an emergency shelter and group home for young inner city girls. Johnson says the candy store is an extension of Johnson’s mission to provide young Black girls with life skills that restore one’s stability and wellbeing.

“The most unprotected individual in America is the Black woman. And that still exists today, I think. So to have a skill set to start your own business, especially with corporate America and systemic racism, is a good way to survive.”

Johnson says exposing youth to entrepreneurship can be inspiring. The candy store employs girls 16 and up.

“They see all the steps, all the hard work that took place to make this place beautiful. I'm hoping that they can learn that you have to persevere even in hardships in order for your dreams to come to reality.”

The candy store is located at 861 Selby and is open 2:30-7:30pm, Monday through Saturday.

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