During Christmas week, Apus Boutique, located at 385 Westward Drive, held a sale and reception to raise funds to benefit PICU (People In Crisis United).
Owned and operated by Trina Gomez and her husband Tony Menendez, the couple hopes to build a successful business and establish a philanthropic foundation.
Menendez is a nursing administrator/trauma ICU nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital and has been on medical missions to third-world countries such as Haiti and Guatemala.
“I wanted to do something in my own community because there’s a lot of need,” said Menendez. “I learned about PICU in 2010 after the earthquake in Haiti and got involved.”
Menendez said PICU focuses on sick children and supports activities such as arts & crafts, and field trips and provides support groups in addition to making wishes come true, similar to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Gomez and Menendez opened the boutique in September and named it Apus, which is the god of the Andes who protects the Incas.
“On a trip to Peru we saw all the beautiful colors of clothing and crafts,” said Menendez. “I started bringing in handmade products and selling them and things took off.”
The reception was catered by Susie Larroque, and noted jewelry maker Sophia Barone was on hand to show off her creations. Also helping out was Menendez’s daughter Chiara (meaning light or famous in Italian), a MSSH senior.
“We’ve had good local support,” said Menendez. “We’re going to do this from here on out and donate to different foundations and organizations.”