For Lena Cooper, owning a salon isn’t a new venture.
The Black Fox Hair Studio, 1408 Tower Ave., is the sixth salon the entrepreneur has owned. It opened last year after she closed the Boss salon in Duluth last year.
While on a road trip through Wisconsin, Cooper said she saw two eagles along the road.
“I got a revelation from that; this is where I should be,” Cooper said. “It was in Wisconsin where I got that revelation … so I came back across the way.”
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She said everything just fell into place, from the renewal of her cosmetology license and garnering a salon license to fitting in the schedules to make modifications to the space with Belknap Electric and Belknap Plumbing, and getting help to finance it from the Small Business Administration.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Cooper said.
And Cooper's salon is one place Mayor Jim Paine chose to honor when he proclaimed the week that began Monday, Feb. 8, Black-owned Business Week in Superior.
“In the city of Superior we noticed that business really does seem to be growing in our community,” Paine said. “More businesses have opened than closed in the last year. And we noticed businesses owned by people of color seemed to be opening at a regular rate. So in the middle of Black History Month, I thought it important that we celebrate diversity in our business community and the fact that barriers really do seem to be falling for Black ownership and entrepreneurship.”
When Paine ran for mayor, he said his promise to the community was to build a city that works for everyone.
“Business is booming in Superior right now, and the best part about it is that we’re bringing everyone along,” Paine said. “There are a lot of barriers to small businesses in any community.”
He said those barriers were one reason why city officials developed a grant program designed to help small businesses launch and grow in Superior.
In addition to Black Fox, Paine recognized Stop N Go Pizza, owned by Keith White and Jamar Kirk; and Jamrock Cultural Restaurant, owned by Tony O’Neil, both of which opened in Superior in the last year. He also recognized Izzy’s Bar-B-Q, owned by Izzy Turner. Turner ran the Billings Park Café for many years before opening his latest venture in 2014.
“There are a number of other small businesses that I’m missing, as well,” Paine said. “My call to the community is to support these small businesses, not just this week, but throughout the year, so this really is a community that works for everyone.”
It’s important to recognize Black-owned businesses and the financial contributions they make to the community, said ChaQuana McEntyre, a member of the Superior Police and Fire Commission and founder of Family Rise Together in Duluth. McEntyre attended the mayor’s announcement Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Kirk said the mayor's declaration helps educate the community on diversity and different cultures.
"The recognition spreads the word," Kirk said. "Of course it's good for business."
Cooper said she took the lessons she learned owning salons in Chicago and Duluth and the way things are done up north to open the Black Fox Hair Studio.
“I started to get appointments right away,” Cooper said. “They get a good service at a reasonable price. It doesn’t have to be expensive."
Cooper said in opening her newest salon: “I feel supported over here.”
For more information about the Black Fox Hair Studio, call 715-718-2772.