“I used to braid a lot children’s hair, when their mothers couldn’t. I would braid their hair for money, so I could go to Ghost Town, on the river. I’d go to Ghost Town or the skating rink. That’s what really started it. I was 8 or 9, braiding hair. I would do that to get some money and go to the amusement park.
What really got me started was when I was in high school. We had to do a co-op. My first job was a job in the kitchen. I couldn’t do that one. Then I got a co-op at Johnson’s Beauty Supply. I was 15 years old and I was working there as an receptionist and a shipping clerk. I shipped all the orders. Someone would call the store and order. I would get the orders ready and ship the hair products out to different beauty salons. There wasn’t that many supply stores. That’s when I started getting into hair because I worked at that supply store.
What made me decide to open up my own shop? I was tired of moving from shop to shop. Most hair dressers and barbers are like gypsies, we’re moving all the time. My two sisters are hair stylists, too. So, my thought was to step out and be the one to open a shop because I’m the older sister. My sisters have been with me since we were together. We’ve been here, on this corner, since ’92. So, that’s 26 years. I’ve been a hairdresser for 34 years.
Opening up was the hardest. I had a hard time. My credit was good. Wanna talk about redlining? My husband had a good job. We went to the Citizens Bank, my score was 800. Don’t you know that I was denied out here in the West End? I went out east, where I live at, and I get approved that day. Ain’t that something? I went through a lot.
When I opened up, the plumbing inspector didn’t like my plumber. Don’t you know that I had to jack up my floor 6 times? All because they didn’t like each other. I wasn’t even in it. Every time I had a different plumber, the inspector needed to see my pipes. That was me spending more money cause he didn’t like my plumber. I’ve been caught up in all kind of mess.
The West End needs more grocery stores. People are paying $5 for bag of sugar. There needs to be more activities for the kids, and more community involvement.” - Pam, owner of Mirror Mirror located in Russell