LeNell Camacho Santa Ana
LeNell Camacho Santa Ana (born c. 1970 in Ft Payne as Tonya LeNell Smothers) is a writer, educator, entrepreneur, consultant and bartender.
LeNell graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in French and theater from Birmingham-Southern College in 1991. She later earned a master's in public administration at UAB with a concentration in organizational management. She was named "Outstanding Woman Student of the Year" by the UAB Women's Center.
In 1996, LeNell was named a "Community Hero" by The Birmingham News, with the honor of running in the Olympic torch relay through Birmingham. That same year the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise flew her to Washington D.C. to accept an "Achievement Against the Odds Award". This honor led to her receiving the title of "Honorary Alabama Colonel" from Governor Fob James.
In addition to her experience as a bartender and restaurant manager, she worked as a salesperson in both retail and wholesale wine sales in New York City before opening LeNell's Ltd, a wine and spirits boutique in Brooklyn in 2003. In 2006, The New York Department of Small Business Services gave the store "Small Business Of The Year" Award and New York Magazine selected the shop as "Best Liquor Store". LeNell's Ltd was recognized by Whisky Magazine as Global Retailer of the Year in 2008 and U. S. Retailer of the Year in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
In 2009, after losing her lease, Camacho Santa Ana relocated to Baja California Sur, Mexico where she and Demián Camacho Santa Ana, owned and operated "Casa Cóctel" cafe bar in La Paz. The couple relocated to Birmingham in 2011 and married on a merry-go-round in Chattanooga, Tennessee in November of the same year. They purchased the J. R. Copeland residence in Norwood in 2012. The couple announced the birth of their daughter Damiana Charbay Camacho Santa Ana October 13, 2012 and divorced in 2016. Since moving to Birmingham, she created the opening beverage menu for Homewood's Little Donkey and helped found the Birmingham Chapter of The United States' Bartenders' Guild. She is working on site development plans to reopen LeNell's retail shop in Norwood.
- "Woman fights to save neighborhood" (March 15, 1996) The Tuscaloosa News
- Cowdery, Charles (February 13, 2009) "My favorite liquor store is closing, one week from today" examiner.com
- Temple, Chanda (June 17, 2012) "Our Wedding: LeNell Smothers & Demian Camacho Santa Ana got married on a carousel" The Birmingham News
- Horn, Jason (April 3, 2012) "Highly anticipated Little Donkey opens in Homewood". Magic City Post
- Edge, John T. (December 2018) "The First Lady of Liquor" Garden & Gun
- Velasco, Eric (November 2019) "Meet 3 local women breaking barriers in the city’s alcohol industry" Birmingham magazine