CHATHAM — A beauty supply business is set to move into a vacant Best But store by the end of the year but residents and the local alderman said they are opposed to it.
They also fear it could harm a beauty supply shop that is already in the Chatham Ridge Mall.
"The last thing Chatham needs is another beauty supply store," said Roosevelt Vonil, president of the nonprofit Greater Chatham Alliance. "We have enough beauty supply places in our community."
Wendell Hutson says that the beauty supply shop could be there for over a decade:
Sistar Beauty has signed a long-term lease to occupy the 41,268-square-foot former Best Buy store at 8900 S. Lafayette Ave., which has been vacant since 2012, said to Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), whose ward includes the site.
"This deal took place without my input and without my support. It was a complete surprise to me when I found out," Brookins said. "I am not opposed to beauty supply stores but I think there are an abundance of them already in that immediate area."
Ideally, Brookins said he would have preferred a sit-down restaurant at that location.
"The land is already zoned for this type of business so there's nothing I can do to stop it," added Brookins. "There are six beauty supply stores located within a mile from this new store."
Besides beauty supplies, Kevin Woo, manager of Sistar Beauty said the store would also sell clothes and other items, and he expects to hire up to 40 employees.
"I already have most of my employees but I do plan to hire from the community, too," Woo said. "This will be our fifth store and I realize there are a lot of beauty supply stores around here, but I think there's always room for one more."
The Chesterfield Community Council in Chatham is also opposed to the store opening.
"It will not enhance the community one bit. I don't plan to support it," said Eli Washington, chairman of the council. "What we needed there was a restaurant, pet store or meat house."
Beauty One has been in Chatham Ridge Mall since 2002. The owner, Yoonjin Han, said she may have to reduce work hours for her 12 employees due to the new competition.
"Most of my employees are from the area. I have employees who live in Chatham, Roseland and Auburn Gresham and they have families to feed," she said. "My greatest fear is that this new beauty supply business will cut into our bottom line and if that happens I will have to scale back my business to stay afloat."
Han's 8,000 square-foot store is about 50 feet from the new store.
"It's disheartening to see such a large beauty supply store open so close to mine. This new store will suck up all the other [beauty supply] businesses in the area," Han said. "Another big box retailer or a youth center would have been better for the community."
Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association, said Chatham is in high demand by businesses.
"We are an economically rich community, which is why everybody wants to come here," Kelly said.
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