A&J Salon

Annie Parker, business owner – Virginia Tech Students

Annie Parker, owner of A&J Beauty Salon

2114 South Shirlington Road, Arlington, VA
Interview conducted by Sarah Steller on March 20, 2017

Business Summary:
Annie Parker opened A&J Beauty Salon on South Shirlington Road in October 1989. She had been doing hair since she was a young girl and decided she was ready to work for herself. While styles have changed over the past 30 years, many of Ms. Parker’s clients keep coming back year after year because A&J Salon “feels like home to them.” And she is equally attached to her clients, feeling like they are part of her own family.

Interview Summary:
Annie Parker opened A&J Beauty Salon in 1989 after securing the space on South Shirlington Road and using her insurance policy to secure $900 in financing. She started with 4 part­‐time workers and herself. Ms. Parker had been doing hair since she was a young girl, which led to her attending cosmetology school. Hairstyles are much different now than they were when she opened the shop in 1989, but much of her client base has stayed the same. Some clients have been with her since she was in school. Her salon feels like home to them, and they are also friends with one another so enjoy that time to catch up. In 2000, the owner of A&J’s building passed away, and the building became owned by a local church that was not interested in renting it. Ms. Parker temporarily closed A&J and worked at another salon. However, after several inquiries, the opportunity came up for Ms. Parker to reopen her salon in its original location in 2012. Ms. Parker really enjoys working for herself. She is planning on retiring soon, but she is attached to her clients (and them to her) and is unsure who will take over from her, although she hopes a niece will be able to do so.

“I was tired of punching people’s clocks, so I wanted to work for myself. I saw this place as an opportunity.”

Annie Parker, owner

“I still have some that I’ve been doing for 30 years. I guess, they say it feels more like home to them.”

Annie Parker, owner

“Work hard. And it’s really what you make of it. I guess I’m trying to say it’s like a marriage. It’s what you make of it. If you really want a business, you really have to work at it to keep it going and to keep it open.”

Annie Parker, owner

Full Interview on Arlington’s WERA 96.7 (minute 10:43)

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