A number of days after it closed, the sweetness salon proprietor mirrored on a profession spanning three a long time in Hyde Park. information


After 30 years in enterprise alongside fifty fifth Road, Divine Creators Magnificence Salon closed its doorways on December 31.

Proprietor Paula C. Johnson says the choice got here due to arthritis in her fingers and knees.

“I used to be going to remain one other 4 years as a result of we had new administration, Mac Properties, so I had a four-year lease, however I made a decision I did not wish to keep and the arthritis was getting extreme,” she mentioned.

Johnson remembers being an worker on the storefront, 1637 AD fifty fifth St., when it was renamed the Stylist Magnificence Salon in 1987. Johnson acquired the salon in 1991 from then-owner Vera Wilkinson, who herself was identified with rheumatoid arthritis.

“The placement was crucial to me and Hyde Park has at all times been a group surroundings the place folks help the group. They supported companies and, , they simply needed to construct small companies,” Johnson mentioned.

She says the one factor she’ll miss most about working within the retailer are the individuals who cease and wave in entrance of the window and, in fact, her prospects.

After Wilkinson gave possession to Johnson, she says she grew to become the primary black individual to personal a enterprise between Cornell and Hyde Park Boulevard.

Johnson says he is been blessed with being the one hair salon on that block for all these years, including that somebody tried to open one other salon throughout the road, however was blocked by town as a consequence of zoning restrictions. was given.

Rising up within the south suburban city of Robbins, Illinois, Johnson mentioned she had a tradition shock when she moved to Chicago in 1966 on the age of 13. “After I got here to city, the folks had been very chilly,” she mentioned.







Halloween Beauty Salon

Paula Johnson with a consumer throughout a Halloween social gathering.




She began out with an curiosity in modeling, however shortly switched to cosmetology, saying she did not imagine she was a adequate actress for the primary route.

Johnson remembers that, as younger adults, a lot of his pals had been being fired from their jobs. She instructed herself that she needed a job that nobody may fireplace her, which fueled her want to be her personal boss. He remembered one thing his grandfather had instructed him: “Your personal enterprise is best than the perfect job on the planet.”

She began magnificence faculty in 1977, and carved her area of interest within the business, working magnificence salons all through the South Aspect and discovering her method to Hyde Park within the early ’80s, quickly shifting to the neighborhood.

Having lived on this location for just a little over 3 a long time, Johnson says he is seen numerous modifications over time – an enormous improve in hire at a retailer.

“I believe it was $900 a month once I joined. And now it is $1,900 a month,” she mentioned, noting that rents have elevated 30% yearly lately.

Not like many different companies that had been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson says Divine Creators did not have hassle on the time, seeing it extra as a time of leisure.

“I’ve by no means been out of labor for ten and a half weeks, so I obtained an opportunity to embellish and spend time on the salon. So it wasn’t a giant issue,” she mentioned.

Johnson says the toughest factor about her resolution to depart is saying goodbye to loyal purchasers of 30-40 years previous, mentioning that she had a tough time maintaining with different stylists in an surroundings that made her really feel snug in addition to high quality. appears to supply.

Johnson says she will even bear in mind the picnic held at Harold Washington Park every year to indicate her appreciation for her purchasers and the group as an entire.

“I’d provide all sides they usually may convey their very own meat, and I’ve folks to cook dinner it for them. And I had folks, completely different companies, donating various things that I’d use for rewards. We performed every kind of old style video games. And I even fed the homeless, , whoever needed to eat one thing they may eat.”

Johnson says she seems to be ahead to spending extra time along with her son, now that she is working – one thing she regrets not doing earlier in life.

“I simply hate that I did not get an opportunity to spend extra time with him, I did not take the time[and]spent extra time with him, my purchasers had been a precedence,” Johnson mentioned. Forward to cross the time. I imply, he is 48 now, I am 68. And I’m trying ahead to spending some high quality time with him.



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