Salon or barbershop owners are the first entrepreneurs African Americans are typically exposed to growing up. These businesses have been staples of the culture and community for decades. Salon owner, Patti Shannon, decided she was not going to follow many of her colleagues and flee to the suburbs to open her business in a strip mall. Born and raised in South Dallas, primarily an African American community, it felt right to build her business near her roots and serve the community that made her who she is – a strong minded entrepreneur with staying power.
South Dallas is an area that embodies the heart and soul of the African American community and its influence can be felt permeating through the metroplex. Driving through South Dallas you can admire the beautiful elements of the neighborhood such as magnificent historic homes, Fair Park – the home to top tier museums and performance centers, the State Fair of Texas, soul food restaurants, African American owned small businesses and Divine Nine Greek Alumni facilities. On the contrast, you will find dilapidated houses, government housing projects, broke down bodegas, liquor stores and cash advance shops. An unspoken fact that African Americans across the U.S. know about cities, is that when there are streets named Malcom X and Martin Luther King, the neighborhood is no doubt “Urban”; and in this line of thinking, South Dallas does not disappoint.
After the sun sets, the sights and sounds of South Dallas become eerie if not downright scary. Patti Shannon’s business, Duke’s Hair Studio, has been plagued time after time with break-ins and loitering attempts by vagrants; however these experiences have not caused Ms. Shannon to abandon her neighborhood. Duke’s Hair Studio does not rely upon patronage from walk up or neighborhood residents; this provides an interesting advantage to South Dallas, as customers from across the wide reaching metroplex can discover its charm. Customers travel to Duke’s Hair Studio from suburbs north and south of Dallas to enjoy the luxuries typically not found in South Dallas small businesses. The salon is adorned with ornate chandeliers, custom artwork, high end furnishing and an inspiring audio soundtrack throughout. The salon also offers free Wi-Fi and news programming on flat screen televisions in each service area. On Saturdays mornings, clients are treated to festive champagne cocktails and small bites while receiving their pampering services.
Ms. Shannon, a serial entrepreneur, has aspirations broader than behind the chair. While Ms. Shannon is a licensed cosmetologist, she also has a commercial driver’s license and runs Starship Transport – a short haul trucking company. Ms. Shannon coaches and consults to aspiring salon owners and entrepreneurs, teaching them key steps to running their business successfully and owning commercial property to substantiate long term business growth in Dallas.