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Celebrating Juneteenth at the Dashiki Block Party

By Megan Davis
The Truth Contributor

On the corner of Nebraska and Miller Street, stands a solid building that is a part of Toledo’s History. Powell’s Beauty & Barber Supply is celebrating 55 years in business. A company, started by Robert Powell, was established to fill the needs of professional barbers and beauticians in the midst of the Civil RIghts Movement.

Maria and Calvin Powell of
Powell's Beauty Supply

“I started 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 here.

Robert 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.

The Powell 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 today.

According 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.

The Black 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.

Typically, 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.

When asked 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.

They greet 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.

This is why a celebration is important.

During 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.

On 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 fun-filled celebration.

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.

Otswanii: Deeper Than Wrap will give headwrapping demonstrations and there will be a Natural Hair Pop Up Salon.

Children’s 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.

The 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 info@thekitchensalon.com.


Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05/30/19 16:41:13 -0400.



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