On January 21, 2013, someone driving near normally-quiet Watson Road in Buckeye, Arizona, might have been surprised, then amused, to see a woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty on the curb. She is just part of Bayo Ogundele’s plan to make tax preparation a very different experience.
Ogundele worked for the City of Seattle in Washington before he moved to Phoenix in 1992. At the time, it took some persuasion to convince him to accept a job in a state, which had rescinded the Martin Luther King Holiday. But he did, and served as director of finance for a non-profit for many years.
In 2011, he started his own CPA and tax preparation service. He opened an office in Phoenix and another seasonal one in Buckeye. On January 21, the Statue of Liberty was spinning a sign and pointing drivers towards the open house for Ogundele’s third office—Liberty Tax Service—at 485 S. Watson Road.
There was a large and diverse crowd present for the ribbon cutting. Representatives from other local businesses, from Discount Tires to the Farm Bureau Financial Services to On Trac to the Buckeye Valley News snacked on pastries, sipped orange juice, and conversed during the reception. Ambassadors from the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce were decked out in matching polo shirts. Jackie Meck, the Mayor of Buckeye, welcomed the crowd, congratulated Ogundele, and helped cut the ribbon.
DyTaySha Lee and Cheyanne Wohlrabe, who were portraying the Statues of Liberty at the event, are two of the 17 employees working for Ogundele. He is providing part-time employment for students and young people, who are enthusiastic and project a positive image for the company. Ogundele promises, not only excellent customer service, but also a comfortable experience for people, who normally dread going to the tax preparer. The office is open and airy. There is a play area available for kids, while parents are receiving tax advice. Ogundele even handed out gift certificates for free 2014 tax preparation to everyone who attended the ribbon cutting.
Ogundele, a personable man with a big smile, said, “I hope today is another great sign of the growth, recovery and discovery going on in Buckeye.”
The new Liberty Tax Service office represents the continuing recovery of the Phoenix metropolitan area, and is evidence of the motto Mayor Meck proclaimed while cutting the ribbon: “Buckeye is open for business!”