In her mid-40s, whereas elevating two daughters, Elsie Damus of Uniondale in the future introduced she would open a magnificence provide retailer in her hometown.
“My father was like, ‘Magnificence provide? What will we learn about that?’ ” Damus’ daughter Claudy Damus-Makelele of Merrick stated.
” ‘Nothing,’ ” her mom advised her father. ” ‘However we’re going to determine it out.’ “
Determine it out she did.
The shop — Claudy’s Magnificence Provide, named for Damus’ daughter — thrived for 36 years, promoting each to company shoppers and native residents, her household stated.
However Damus, who died June 20 at age 80, spent the ultimate 12 months of her life attempting to save lots of the enterprise, her daughter stated. The coronavirus pandemic compelled the shop to shut for 4 months, shoppers canceled contracts and enterprise dropped by 80%, the household stated. Damus, who was briefly hospitalized with COVID-19, reluctantly was unable to fund three annual highschool scholarships.
The shop’s plight was profiled in a May 20 Newsday story concerning the challenges dealing with minority-owned companies through the pandemic.
Damus died from pulmonary issues at Nassau College Medical Middle in East Meadow. Two of the nurses who tended to her had acquired scholarships endowed by Damus after they graduated from Uniondale Excessive College, her daughter stated.
Within the Newsday story, Damus and her household stated they had been advised they did not qualify for federal monetary help as a minority-owned enterprise, regardless that Damus was a Haitian immigrant.
Damus-Makelele stated Thursday she was unsure the enterprise would survive.
“So many individuals reached out, however to no avail,” Damus-Makelele stated. “We’re nonetheless behind in our funds and nonetheless behind in every little thing.”
Damus-Makelele and her sister, Nancy Nemorin of Merrick, are working the shop whereas holding down different full-time jobs. Damus-Makelele is affiliate superintendent of Jap Suffolk BOCES; Nemorin is a professor at Kingsborough Neighborhood Faculty in Brooklyn.
Uniondale Chamber of Commerce president Mariano Ugalde stated Damus “was a really well-beloved determine within the neighborhood. … I can’t inform you how large a loss that is for Uniondale.”
Damus got here to the US from Haiti when she was 16, her household stated. She graduated in 1975 from the Style Institute of Expertise in Manhattan, then labored as a designer for a Manhattan clothes firm.
“She then determined, ‘I don’t know something concerning the magnificence provide enterprise, however I’m going to open a magnificence provide enterprise,'” Damus-Makelele stated.
Along with her two daughters, Damus is survived by her husband, Claude, 5 sisters and three grandchildren.
A funeral service was held on June 26 at Hartnett Funeral Dwelling in Uniondale. She was buried that day at Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale.
Days earlier than Damus died, her daughters discovered a observe from her that stated partly, “Keep in mind, for me my prospects had been all the time no 1.”
“She really ready my sister and I for this very second our whole lives. She modeled for me what it meant to be spouse. She positively modeled for me dignity and beauty,” Damus-Makelele stated. “She’s going to reside on in her prospects [and] in her younger individuals. That I do know for positive.”