Betty McArtor said her customers call her “Ms. Ebony.”
McArtor, owner of Ebony Beauty Supply, has been selling wigs, hair extensions and braid hair to customers for the past 12 years.
McArtor, from Kansas City, was disappointed to discover there not many stores in Cedar Rapids that stocked supplies for black women.
“I was getting my own hair braided back then, and I thought to myself, ‘I could open a wig shop.’ I also wanted to open a shop where African-Americans could walk in and see another African-American in business, and where they could be treated with dignity and pride,” she recalled.
While the name of the business might imply beauty products such as shampoo and conditioners, hair is the principal commodity.
“I don’t sell a lot of product here,” she said. “The reason being that places like Walmart, Walgreen’s and the dollar stores now carry a lot of ethnic supplies and beauty products, so I sell the hair extensions that those stores do not carry.”
“What is really popular right now is the weave hair,” she said, “because it comes very long and the girls can weave it into their own hair and curl it …. “They can put the weave or extensions in with their own hair to add length and volume, and can get the different styles and looks they want today.”
The braids can be left in for about six weeks, which saves time in the wearer’s daily routine.
Ebony Beauty Supply also is a good resource for women who have experienced hair loss due to chemotherapy treatments.
Ebony Beauty Supply was relocated to its current site on Mt. Vernon Road after being flooded in the Czech Village in 2008. It took McArtor six months to find the space she now rents — and it’s where she plans to remain.
Two years ago she brought her son, Anthony Fuller, into the business as the manager, and between the two of them they handle the busy shop.
“The (weak) economy hasn’t bothered us,” McArtor said. “People still care about their hair, and we are busy on the weekends because people want to look beautiful for their weekends.”
Owner: Betty McArtor
Company: Ebony Beauty Supply
Address: 1901 Mt. Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids
Phone: (319) 261-0447
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