When my husband and I were looking for a place to live in Rowan County, we passed through downtown Salisbury and I thought to myself, “This looks like a great place to run a small business!” While I was looking for a rental home, I was simultaneously looking for an office and a storefront. When we moved from Charlotte, we rented all three. Crazy, huh?
I can proudly say that Rowan County is where I became a successful entrepreneur. I am the owner of Sabrina Bougie Styles located at 1008 South Main Street, Suite 3 in Salisbury, NC. It’s been a journey over the past seven years, but Rowan County is truly a great place to own a small business while raising a family.
As a small business owner, I faced some challenges in the beginning. Since I was new to the community, I wasn’t certain on how to open and where to open a business. I also wasn’t sure that my services, alterations, and dressmaking would be embraced by my new community. With other competition in the area, would locals be comfortable coming to me for the alteration needs?
Education & Assistance at Your Fingertips
At the time, I was sewing in my home and making children’s clothing while my children attended Price Head Start, a great pre-school with many talented teachers. I had what is called a “house visit” where the Price Head Start staff came into my home to discuss my child and my family’s goals. I introduced them to my sewing room and told them my idea of opening a small business. They encouraged me to pursue my dream! I quickly enrolled my children into extended childcare and set up a meeting at The Small Business Center (SBC) at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
The SBC at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College assists those in developing a plan of action for lasting success through small business education. During my meeting with the SBC, I asked if my idea was too crazy or farfetched. They assured me it wasn’t. After successfully filling out a one-page questionnaire, I turned it in to the director of the SBC. She called and set up a meeting to discuss things further and the rest is history! From that moment on, I began to experience successes and to meet more people who lived and worked in Salisbury. As you can see, through my personal experiences, Rowan County is the perfect place to follow your dreams and start a business. You will have the support you need and access to plenty of resources to help your business start and grow. In thinking over my experience and writing this blog, I decided that I should talk to other small business owners in the area and learn more about their journey.
It’s a Family Business
The first business I decided to pay a visit to was Zaina Beauty Supply in Spencer, NC. When I entered the building, I was impressed with the professional set up and how the employees welcomed me into the store. After browsing for some products for myself and my family, I introduced myself to the owner, Mohammad Kanan.
To give you some background, Mohammad is from Winston Salem and was raised in the beauty supply industry. Mohammad’s father started out as a partner of EGO Beauty Supply out of Winston Salem, NC. Mohammad told a beautiful story of his Palestine parents and how hard his parents worked to support their family. His drive to succeed comes from watching how hard his father worked and how well his mother supported the family. He stated she often worked harder.
“I get to work with something I love – hair, but I can also allow my father to rest. When we are young, we do not realize what our parents sacrifice just to keep us happy. I want my dad’s hard work to become something so it does not go to waste. I can proudly say that I was able to make EGO Beauty Supply something big in Winston Salem,” explains Mohammad.
When asked what attracted him to Spencer, NC, Mohammad said, “Having accomplished all that in Winston Salem, I felt that I was ready to branch out on my own. I wanted to use my talents to begin something new, something different, and something that I can call MINE. I have so much planned for Zaina Beauty Supply; things that I was not able to do in Winston because I was not the owner.”
“Currently, my dad and his partner own two shopping centers, two EGO Beauty Supply, and two EGO Home Furniture. Being able to say that I played a huge role in EGO’s success makes me proud,” said Mohammad.
Customer Service & Quality Products
I asked Mohammad what makes his business unique and as the business owner he is, he obviously had a lot to say. “First of all, I love ALL my customers. Every single one that walks through those doors instantly becomes part of the Zaina family. Secondly, Zaina Beauty Supply is customer friendly. My staff is trained in customer service and are quick to make sure everyone has found what they came looking for. I am very choosy when it comes to hiring – I want a professional environment and polite, smiling, and motivated employees. Biggest thing that is unique about me and the business is that I know what I am looking for, and I know what the store should be and look like. Thirdly, I love engaging with the community and interacting with the customers such as hosting a fun giveaway on Facebook and posting sales. Seeing smiles on my customers faces is what motivates me to come to work every day,” explained Mohammad.
In addition to strong customer service skills and professionalism, Mohammad is extremely passionate about the hair business. “I always strive to make sure I am carrying top quality hair, as well as staying connected to the beauty industry to make sure I am getting the latest and trendiest products. Zaina Beauty Supply offers numerous products – basically, all your beauty needs in one store. Not only do we cater to women, we also have lots of items for men, such as trimmers, hair care products, and just about all barber supplies,” said Mohammad.
“With only a week of planning the grand opening of Zaina Beauty Supply, I was able to get help from the amazing people in this community,” said Mohammad. “I scored a DJ, a local dance team, a cook, and a member of the Spencer Police Department. We had a very successful grand opening with over 130 customers waiting outside before opening the doors. Overall, I am pleased with this community and how they have welcomed me. I look forward to work within this community and to play a big role in Spencer.”
When asked about his future plans here in Rowan County, Mohammad said, “I have a long list for my future plans in Rowan County. First, I would like to establish myself in Spencer and make myself well known, the same way I am in Winston Salem. Second, I plan on contributing to the community, schools, and any projects that the town of Spencer has that will improve the town itself. Third, I want to be able to expand. My goal in the next two years is to have three locations within Rowan and Cabarrus County. I want to make Zaina Beauty Supply a well-known store based on the positive things it has to offer. By then, I can expand into Charlotte with my fourth location, and then grow from there. These are just some major things that I will be working hard on to make it happen.”
As I think back to our conversation, I am moved to tears. Mohammad’s story is the epitome of if you work hard enough for your dream and your business, you can, and will be successful. His story and experiences with opening a business here in Rowan County are very similar to my own. Honing in that Rowan is a great place to start a business. The sense of community is one of its strongest attributes.
Opportunities Are Endless
Mohammad and myself are just a glimpse of what its like to be a small business owner here in Rowan County. Small business owners in Rowan County come in all shapes and sizes, some young, and some who have withstood the test of time. Many businesses have recently open here in Rowan County including Bottle & Can in Salisbury, The Spice & Tea Exchange of Salisbury, The Candy Shoppe on Main in China Grove, and many more! I look forward to experiencing each of them with my family.
Are you a Rowan County business owner? Check out the Rowan Chamber of Commerce, Rowan Young Professionals Group, Rowan IDEA Center, and Minority Business Council. Each of these groups has people full of resources and connections to help you get started on the right foot.
Interested in starting a small business in Rowan County? Visit the The Small Business Center (SBC) at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College or read this blog on “How to Start a Business in Rowan County”.
Read more on why Salisbury, NC ranked 16th on a national list of “2019’s Best Cities to Start a Business” by WalletHub.com here.