Ana Bazadoni is proud of everything she has accomplished since moving to Yakima from Uruguay 18 years ago.
Few people can say they have learned a new language, earned three college degrees, started two small businesses and raised twin boys — all while caring for an ill spouse — in such a short time. But Bazadoni isn’t seeking praise for all of her achievements. More than anything, she wants to be an inspiration to others.
“I’m very humble and I don’t like to show off,” said Bazadoni, 57, the owner of Light Delight and A&B Accounting, which both operate out of a storefront in Selah’s Viking Village. “I just want to prove to people that they can do whatever they set their minds to if they follow their heart.”
For Bazadoni, success has come down to more than just hard work. Her unshakable self-confidence and ability to persevere, no matter what life has thrown at her, have carried Bazadoni just as far as her work ethic.
“I was 38 years old with twin boys, and I barely knew how to speak English,” she said. “But I found a way to get through college with three degrees and graduate with honors. If I did it, anyone can.”
Bazadoni moved to Yakima with her husband, James, a former Yakima County employee, in 2002. She had her twins in 2003 and then worked as a dishwasher at a senior living facility before sustaining a serious on-the-job injury. That led her to start pursuing an accounting degree at Yakima Valley College, and eventually, Central Washington University.
She took classes at YVC for two years and then completed her degrees in accounting, business administration and supply chain management at CWU in 2010. That same year, she was recognized by YVC as an Adult Literacy Champion for the state of Washington.
“They sent my story to the White House to show them that the ESL (English as a Second Language) program really does work,” Bazadoni said. “I am very proud that I was selected for that award, and that I could help make a difference.”
She started working as a tax preparer while in college and continued doing that for a few years before tragedy struck. Her husband suffered a major stroke in late 2011 and was in a coma for four months, leaving the family with no immediate income.
Bazadoni’s state of “panic” led her to open Light Delight — a gluten-free, sugar-free bakery — out of her home in 2012. Around that time, she also started A&B Accounting, which she operated out of her home until this month.
With both businesses still growing, she said the Viking Village space has been ideal.
“I planned to move the accounting business to Selah when I opened the store last fall, and now we are there full time, too,” she said.
Even though Bazadoni has become a well-respected baker since opening Light Delight nine years ago, her real passion is crunching numbers and studying tax codes. Like the bakery, A&B Accounting has built a loyal following over the past decade, now serving more than 400 clients per year.
Bazadoni said around 80% of them are seasonal, but she stays busy year-round with other services, such as bookkeeping, quarterly reports, payroll taxes, L&I, business taxes and more. She stresses that she is “not just a tax preparer; I’m an accountant.”
“The biggest difference is I keep up on all of the changes to tax rules and regulations every year so I can give my clients the most value,” Bazadoni said, adding that she is now pursuing a master’s degree in taxation — as if she didn’t have enough going on.
Despite all of the disruptions during the past year, Bazadoni remains confident in the future of both of her businesses. But she knows she never could have gotten this far without her commitment to higher education.
“A lot of people come to me and say I’ve inspired them to go to college,” she said. “That makes me feel really good. Maybe if others hear my story, I can help them, too.”