working here as a little boy when my father opened
Powell’s.” said Calvin Powell, Sr. He remembered his uncle,
who was a barber, traveling from Toledo to Detroit to get
supplies for his business because they weren’t available
Powell began helping his brother by making the trip for him.
When other barbers and hairstylists at their church,
Phillips Temple, heard of this, they too asked the men to
get supplies for them. This is when Robert saw fit to open
his own local store in Toledo, which remains open today, now
operated by Calvin Powell, Sr.
family did something that very few African Americans
anywhere in the United States have been able to do back then
and in the present day. Against the odds, they opened one
of nearly 3,000 black-owned beauty supply stores that exist
to a 2018 Nielsen report, $63.5 million dollars were spent
on ethnic hair care. Of that number, $54 million was
purchased by African Americans, which is more than 85
percent of total annual spending. But with fewer black-owned
beauty supply stores than those owned by Korean-Americans or
others, the money being spent on ethnic hair care isn’t
circulating within the black community, a common complaint
of the new conscious consumer.
Korean-Americans have held the lead in distributing ethnic
hair care products and hair weaves, due to Korea being a
hub for hair imports and exports, dating back to the 70s.
Many efforts have been and continue to be made to change
this narrative as retail startups are trying to redirect
this long standing trend.
Owned Beauty Supply Association, BOBSA recently reported
that there are 3,000 black-owned beauty supply stores
nationwide. Powell’s is one of seven listed in Ohio.
the Korean-American-owned stores are supply warehouses, as
many aren’t licensed beauty-supply businesses, such as Cosmo
Prof or Salon Centric, which are closed to the public. Even
Sally Beauty may offer discounts to licensed stylists, but
they aren’t exclusive to stylists. Yet, Powell’s Beauty and
Barber Supply does carry this privilege like Salon Centric
and Cosmo Prof.
how Powell’s has continued to thrive for more than 50 years
in the Toledo community, Calvin stated that it is their
knowledge of the products, availability and price point.
What he didn’t say, but is evident if you’ve ever been
there, is the strong family connection as they all work
together to run their business.
customers like family instead of dollars and vagabonds. If
you don’t know what this means, just walk into any
Asian-owned local beauty supply and read the signs on the
door that says “this door automatically locks behind you”
and attempt to shop while being filmed, followed and judged.
If you ask for something, also be prepared that the staff
may not understand what you’re looking for due to lack of
product knowledge and/or language barriers. This doesn’t
happen at Powell’s.
why a celebration is important.
this season of festivals and fairs, there’s Juneteenth, an
occasion often overlooked by communities. June 19, 1865 is
recorded in history as the day slavery was abolished in
Texas, emancipating enslaved African Americans.
Saturday, June 15, at Toledo’s historical Powell’s Beauty
and Barber Supply located at 901 Nebraska Ave. will be the
home for the annual Juneteenth Block Party from 11:00 am-
4:00 pm. This festival is a family affair for people of all
ages to experience Culture, Community and Commerce in a
DJ Miss T
will be spinning Neo Soul and will host R N B Karaoke Live.
There will also be cultural dance including salsa by Michal
T Promotions; Dancehall and Soca by The Diamond Butterfly
and the Pride of Kids United steppers.
Deeper Than Wrap will give headwrapping demonstrations and
there will be a Natural Hair Pop Up Salon.
activities including bounce house and tribal face painting
and BBQ dinners will be available along with a Black
business vendor marketplace and community resources on site.
The attire for this year is all things Dashiki.
Juneteenth Dashiki Block Party is FREE thanks to sponsors
Powell’s Beauty and Barber Supply and The Kitchen Salon. For
more information, please call/text (419) 984-0395 or email@example.com.