New Salon Receives Blair County Community Action Agency’s First Micro Grant: Vivid Hair Design

Ashley Barroner had been working in the hair industry for the past five years, primarily for large corporate salons. She always had the goal of becoming an entrepreneur and was finally presented with an opportunity to do so.

Ashley is a 2011 graduate of the Altoona Beauty School. Upon graduation from cosmetology school, Ashley became employed by Regis Corporation’s Smart Style in the Wal-Mart Plaza, Altoona.

She worked there for two years and in early 2014, she moved to a salon is State College. After spending a year there, she then moved to the JC Penny Hair Salon in Altoona. While working at these salons, Ashley was exposed to various management and business ideas that have made salons successful and profitable. It was during her time at JC Penny that she really began to focus on her own salon.

During her time working at these three salons, she developed a relationship with about 140 regular customers. The majority of her customers are in the 25-34 age range. Ashley offers a variety of hair related services, but she really likes and specialized in hair coloring. She does many hair coloring jobs each week for her own customers and also has color jobs gone bad referred to her for repair. Many of Ashley’s customers are from the Altoona/Hollidaysburg/Blair County area, so it was natural for her to look for a location in this area. After looking for a few potential locations, she found a recently closed location on Allegheny Street in Hollidaysburg. The shop also had much of the equipment still in the shop and it was in good working order. In addition to having been operated as a salon and having much of the equipment in place, the location is near the Diamond Business District in Hollidaysburg. There are a variety of small shops nearby as well as being a short distance from the Blair County Courthouse and several attorney offices.

In April 2016, Ashley contacted the Saint Francis University SBDC to discuss the opening her own beauty salon. She had been discussing this with a relative that worked for the Blair County Community Action Agency and she suggested to Ashley that she get in contact with our office to discuss preparing a complete business plan. After an initial telephone conversation, the SBDC immediately scheduled a meeting with her to further discuss her project. The SBDC felt that based on the initial conversation that she was ready to meet based on what she has already been working on.

The SBDC met with Ashley to discuss the proposed business venture. The SBDC assisted her in completing the business plan and proformas. She was basing much of her plan on what she learned working for the other salons. Upon completion, Ashley presented the completed business plan to Blair County Community Action for funding. The SBDC assisted Ashley in completing the overall financing proposal and reviewed the various aspects of opening and operating her own salon.

The funding for the project came through Blair County Community Action as well as seller financing for the equipment and owner’s cash equity. The funds were used for equipment, inventory, renovations and working capital. In addition to Ashley, the salon Vivid Hair Design has created three stylist positons as well as hiring a receptionist.