When Sow was 13, his parents helped him land his first job at the same butcher shop in Jamaica were they purchased their food. He worked there throughout high school and partly through his college years.
“It was there that I gained the skills that led me to where I am today,” he said.
When he turned 21, Sow decided to launch his own butcher shop, where he goes directly to family farms in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, purchases livestock, slaughters, prepares and sells the halal meat within one week to ensure freshness.
In January 2020, he started Prince Abou’s Butchery, and began to make sales. Two months later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the industrial food chain broke down. Sow said grocery stores ran out of meat because many large factory farming slaughter plants shut down.
“Because my business isn’t connected to the industrial food chain, we had meat throughout the entire pandemic because we go directly to farmers,” he said. “Everyone just started finding out about my business in March.”
By June, the Jamaica resident said he had to stop taking new customers because he couldn’t keep up with the demand.
Last month, Sow was awarded a $10,000 small business grant from Nav, a financing platform for small businesses. He plans to use the funds to expand his inventory, join local farmers markets. and employ more staff to help with the expansion of his business, which relocated to a larger facility in Astoria.
“We’ll be able to accomplish things that we wanted to accomplish a year from now much quicker,” he said.