By Kevyn Collier-Roberts
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
If you drive along the streets of any predominantly African-American community, you’ll notice a plethora of beauty supply stores. But such places aren’t just about sales; they are also about helping to create community.
In the Lansing community, one such gathering place is Cheryl Beauty Supply, at 1609 E. Michigan Ave. The store prides itself on maintaining strong relationships with their customers in order to keep them as loyal customers.
“I think we have more of what our culture requires as far as hair products, skin products, and just an overall great shopping experience. I think it’s a very important staple in the community because it is all that we have,” said Myleeka Spears, 28, who has worked at Cheryl Beauty Supply for about one year.
“It brings women together, all races including African-Americans and caucasians,” Spears said. “I think it is more of a greeting point for all shoppers who come here and it will become something big within the next few years simply because it means something to the community.”
Spears revealed that the range of customers not only vary when it comes to women of various ethnic backgrounds but it varies in gender as well.
“Men, especially those who work at barbershops nearby, are also customers of ours. You see a lot of doors have been opened to the gay community and lesbian community. A lot of transgender people feel comfortable coming here to shop because it is okay for them to be themselves. So think it’s not only about assisting women themselves or African-American women with their needs but it’s also about the needs of males, barbers, hairstylists, makeup artists, etc.,” said Spears.
Chafon Campbell is a licensed hairstylist at the Lillie D’or Salon and Spa in Southfield, Mich. She specializes in phases of healthy hair, natural texture styling, extensions, and hair color, and has been doing hair for roughly 10 years.
Campbell is rather familiar with living in a neighborhood that lacks minority hair care products and stresses the importance of businesses in predominantly-white neighborhoods being able to provide minority residents with daily essentials that meet their own personal preferences.
“Because there are no beauty supply stores in my neighborhood, I have to use professional supply stores. Minorities having access to beauty supply stores is beneficial because they have a better selection of products and a wider range of brands to choose from. Sometimes beauty supply stores have better deals than the professional hair care stores within my neighborhood,” said Campbell.
Dedria Barker has been a customer to Cheryl Beauty Supply on and off since the store opened. The store is rather convenient for her to travel to seeing as though she lives a block away. The Detroit native knows how hard it is to live in a community that lacks businesses that cater to her personal needs but is appreciative of Cheryl Beauty Supply for providing her with options.
“Cheryl’s store has a wide variety of products to choose from and they are within the community so I like that,” said Barker.
Because Cheryl Beauty Supply is closer to Michigan State University’s campus, the employees who work there often extend their services to college students, and customers between the ages of 18 and 35.
Cheryl Beauty Supply also caters to residents in East Lansing, Okemos, even those who are from out of town.