Unlikely partners

Awilda Sosa and Maria DiCairano in their shared space on the Upper West Side. Photo: Jason Cohen  
How two different businesses thrive under one roof on the Upper West Side
By Jason Cohen

Can an optical store and an accountant succeed in a shared office? Well, two people on the Upper West Side are showing this can be done.

Angel Eyes Optical and MID Tax Service, located at 2662 Broadway at 101st Street, have proven over the past decade that two different businesses can thrive under one roof.

Awilda Sosa of Whitestone and Maria DiCairano of Westchester County met in 2008, while considering the same vacant space for their respective businesses and decided to join forces.

“We didn’t know each other at all,” DiCairano said. “We just knew we both needed the space.”

DiCairano, who has been doing taxes since 1986, expanded her business to the city in 2008. Working at a small office, which has since closed, she decided she liked it so much she wanted to remain in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, Sosa has been an owner of Angel Eyes for 17 years. She had an office on 95th and Broadway and then bought herself out of the franchise and moved to 99th and Broadway.

When they decided to share an office space, many people thought it was a crazy idea. However, the two single moms have grown close, learned about each others’ trades and ultimately created more business for each other.

“To me I enjoy it,” Sosa said. “First of all I admire her as a business person. I’ve been in this business for so long; everyone thought I was going to fail.”

“People thought I should share a space with other accountants or a lawyer,” DiCairano added. “But I thought why?”

DiCairano explained that during the off-season for taxes she only comes in into the office twice a week. Now, with Sosa there six days a week, DiCairano’s clients can drop forms off or pick them up.

And clients of one person have now become clients of the other.

“It’s a blessing because we’re helping each other when we need it,” Sosa said.

The women stressed that another perk of sharing an office is being able to split the rent. Sosa noted that the landlord has been a client of hers for many years and he had no issue with the arrangement.

“We share it so we can keep our profitability and still keep the clients happy,” DiCairano said.

Ultimately, the two women never imagined working together, but are happy things turned out how they did.

“I never wanted a business partner, but it felt right,” Sosa said. “She didn’t even know what a Dominican was. Now she knows about tostones.”