Broken But Not Destroyed
Ferguson Salon Owner’s Resolve to Stay in Business Despite Devastation Two Years in a Row
It was a few days before the official start of back to school last August and Dellena Jones of Salon 911 in Ferguson, Missouri had been taking care of her two daughter’s hairstyles for the new school year. She had been out of town the previous weekend, and while she was aware that there was unrest in the surrounding area resulting from the Michael Brown shooting, she was not aware of the extent to which the protests and rioting had escalated. When we spoke with her earlier this week to see how her salon was holding up, she described for us last years unrest, which originally devastated her salon.
Photo originally posted on MSNBC.com.
“It was like a scene right out of a movie.” Dellena recalls, discussing the rioters marching down Florissant Ave., where her salon is located. “People were throwing things up against the windows of my shop. My first concern of course, was my girls. We ran out the back [of the salon] to our car. The outside was smoky from the fires and the tear gas, there was so much traffic from everyone trying to get out. People were jumping on the hood of my car and pounding on my windows, my girls were screaming…”
The following morning when she returned to the salon that she has owned for three years, and worked at for sixteen, her salon was in shambles. Windows were broken, bricks and other projectiles littered the floor—the damage to her salon amounted to well over thirty-thousand dollars. “That was just the damage,” she explains, “it doesn’t include the loss of revenue from all of the days the salon was shut down, or from the continued loss of customers for the remainder of 2014.”
Photo originally posted on MSNBC.com.
Prior to the riots, Salon 911 was blossoming into a very successful business for the single mother of two. She had become so busy that four new stylists were slated to begin working for her. Thanks to her location right on the main thoroughfare in downtown Ferguson, she would receive lots of foot traffic from people walking up and down the street as well as drive up customers who found her salon simply passing by.
Photo originally posted by STLtoday.com
“It wasn’t until the beginning of this year, around the end of January, that things started to pick up again.” Thanks in part to friends and the community pitching in to help her rebuild, her salon was at least functioning —though not entirely repaired. “I still needed new floors, my windows were boarded up for a long time until I could afford to have them repaired.” Dellena explained, “but my customers were returning and we had a steady stream of business once again.”
Fast forward to this past weekend, and the first anniversary of the Michael Brown shootings. Ferguson is once again under a state of emergency, and Dellena’s salon—is once again a target. She was away for the weekend at a family reunion, unaware of what was occurring once again to her salon. We spoke with her this week to see how her salon was holding up.
“The glass was broken again, pieces of concrete and such are everywhere. The floor is torn up.”
The community along with her friends came to her aid once again, lending a hand in getting the debris cleared away.
“Yesterday when I got there [to the salon], my friends and family had come and cleaned it all up while I was outside talking to the press.”
With no aid from the state, Dellena’s only aid to help rebuild her salon is through low-interest loans. Unfortunately with the current state of emergency, she has been unable to open for business this week.
“I keep hoping to be open. But it’s a day-by-day thing because we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
In need of work, one of the two stylists she employs in her salon had to go elsewhere to work, so her staff has now dwindled to herself and one part-time lady. As the sole income provider for her family however, Dellena reiterated that she isn’t able to just simply not work and wait it out. Resolved to continue to keep her business afloat, she will revert to styling in her home or at clients homes until she can once again get the monies needed to repair her salon.
While her own business struggles to maintain a stable footing, Dellena is working tirelessly to ensure that Florissant Ave. businesses won’t face these kinds of struggles alone in the future. She has created a business association for all of the business owners in Ferguson, which has been set up to allow them to help each other, heal each other and create unity amongst them.
“I know that with me personally, if I know that someone needs help, I try to share that information with everyone that I know, so that they can get assistance,” says Dellena. “That’s why we need this association—then we can all work together in getting the word out to help others in our community who need help.”
Life for each of us is full of challenges. While the heartaches and struggles that happen to us may be out of our control, what we can control is how we respond to those challenges. That is what make Dellena’s story so inspirational. When we heard her story and learned of her resolve to never give up, we immediately wanted to share it with you, our community of stylists and salon owners who know first-hand the difficulties of being a salon owner. Just as Dellena strives to unite her community, we too love the unity that we find within our community of artists.
Below is Dellena’s video and GoFundMe page, should you want to help out a fellow member of your salon community.