STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — The first Black-owned beauty supply store to open its doors in Statesboro held a grand opening event on Saturday.

Business owner LaShayla Lanier runs Tru Hair Palace, while sister Yachi Lee operates Keona’s Kloset, a clothing boutique located upstairs.

Lanier, who also works as a rural carrier with the United States Postal Service, says the idea for opening up a beauty shop of her own came to her last June. 

“I actually thought of the idea overnight,” Lanier told NOW. “God just spoke to me and said, ‘it’s time for a change,’ so I was like, ‘this is what I’m destined for, I want to do a hair store, a Black-owned beauty supply store full of essentials.’”

Within the first hour and a half of the shop’s ribbon cutting, dozens of excited customers had already filtered in.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar also stopped by the store, located at 3 Simmons Shopping Center off North Main Street, to congratulate the women on their major milestone.

Store employees required patrons to wear masks and sanitize their hands before shopping.

Lanier says it felt overwhelming to begin her path as an entrepreneur.

“Since I started this journey, the community that has been behind me and the support has just made me feel like, ‘I own this, this is what we’re supposed to be doing,’” she said.

Tru Hair Palace sells just about everything beauty-related, from human hair extensions and wigs to nail polish, mink lashes and makeup.

Meanwhile, Keona’s Kloset offers the community a variety of stylish clothing apparel.

“If you want to look like an Instagram model, that’s where you need to be,” Lee said.

The sisters say they also support local Black business owners by carrying and selling some of their products.

A Nielsen report showed that Black consumers spend over $1 billion annually on beauty and cosmetics.

Despite this, it hasn’t been as common for Black business owners to operate beauty supply stores.

It’s a large part of why Lanier decided to open her doors. 

“I felt like that’s something that belongs to us as Black women, you know, a beauty supply store,” Lanier said. 

“We have mostly Korean women [owning beauty supply stores], but we know what we like,” she said. “A Black woman knows what she wants in her hair, we know what we want our face to look like, so I said, that’s something that belongs to us.”

Alivia Lloyd helped Lanier with her company’s branding through her marketing and graphic design agency, King’s Land Marketing.

Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar stopped by Tru Hair Palace’s grand opening event. (Image courtesy of Tru Hair Palace)

Lloyd, who says she became the first Black marketing company owner in Statesboro over nine years ago, says a business like Lanier’s is needed in the city.

“I think this is something that’s going to motivate more people out of the Black community to open up businesses,” Lloyd told NOW. “I think now we’re really going to make a footprint in the future economically, in the community and in the town.”

Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce President Skip Alford shared in a phone interview with NOW that he was proud of Lanier’s team and what they’ve accomplished in the community.

Lanier’s mother shares the same sentiments.

“She’s like her father, she’s ambitious,” Verna Lanier said. “I’m so proud that she’s the first, and I hope she won’t be the last.”