Sometimes perseverance pays off, which is the case for Lashawn Gallishaw Deas.
The 37-year-old Deas recently opened up her own beauty salon called Devine Sisters Beauty Salon, 1686 Peach Orchard Road. Deas knew that ever since she was a 13-year-old styling her grandmother's hair and trying different styles with her own hair that she wanted to be the owner of a salon. However, Deas encountered some road blocks along the way to becoming an entrepreneur. In 2006, Deas said she brought the property and the building where her salon was established for an estimated cost of $110,000. But according to Deas, she found the building wasn't in any position to be used.
"I thought it had good potential, but it was termite damaged and had to be torn down," Deas said. "I felt like it would cost more to repair than start it from scratch."
While Deas had some money in her personal savings, she also needed a business loan to help build a new building for her salon. She said the frustrating part was getting turned down by several banks before she was given a business loan through NBSC. Deas' mother, Mamie Smith, was proud that her daughter kept pushing toward her goal.
"For anybody trying to start a business, it is never easy, and especially when you're a black female trying to establish yourself on your own," Smith said. "She was turned down by different banks, and it took a lot of persistence for her to keep going and not give up. Lashawn didn't take 'no' for an answer, and she finally found a bank to take on her financial needs."
The next obstacle Deas faced was finding the right contractor to construct the building. After considering several contractors, Deas settled on Hardee Construction Co. Inc. through the recommendation of Margaret Lawson, who owns a catering business called New Beginning Catering on S.C. 441. Groundbreaking on the building starting in November and the building was completed by Hardee Construction in February, Deas said.
"One of the happiest days of my life was when I saw the clearing of the trees and the pouring of cement on the ground to begin construction of the building," Smith said. "I'm really glad that things were able to come together for my daughter."
Devine Sisters has been opened for a week, and Deas said she looks forward to continuing serving the Sumter community. Tomekia Dinkins and Mary Ann Ray are the other two stylists that work in the salon with Deas. Dinkins specializes in long hair styling, short styles and updos, as well as coloring and hair care, while Ray does braids of all styles. The public is invited to attend Devine Sisters' grand opening on March 27 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Deas said her strong faith in God kept her believing that her goal was going to be achieved.
"I had a lot of sleepless nights, and I did a lot of praying," she said. "I thank God for answering my prayers and allowing my dream to become a reality."
Hours of operation for Devine Sisters are Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 7 to 11 a.m. Appointments only on Tuesday and children's hair is done by appointments only. To reach Devine Sisters, call (803) 494-9400.
Reach Corey Davis at (803) 774-1295.