As personal businesses such as beauty shops, restaurants and others faced major challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, grants became available from major corporations and others.
American Express and Main Street America were just one of many joining together to provide grants to small businesses across the U.S. at a crucial time for those struggling to continue, as well as those in need of upgrades, help with inventory, rent or other operational assistance.
American Express and Main Street America showed preference to those deeply affected by COVID, as well as businesses located in older historic commercial districts. One grant cycle focused primary on providing grants to dry cleaners, beauty shops and barbers.
This grant caught the attention of Danni Davis, owner of Nameste Hair and Nails located at 136 W. Main St., Newcomerstown. Davis has made numerous business strides in the village over the last few years.
She originally began Nameste Hair and Nails on N. College Street in early 2020, and quickly outgrew the space. One year ago, she made the decision to expand the shop to more than double its size and move to her current Main Street storefront.
She continues to add services and make improvements, but that means upgrades such as interior design, inventory, furnishings and more. Davis was one of the lucky ones able to sustain and stay strong through the struggles of COVID. But to remain successful, she knows offering specialty services in an inviting, up-to-date atmosphere is a necessity.
As a businesswoman, Davis is always looking for grants she is eligible for, not only to improve her business, but to bring additional perks and added services to the community.
“Anytime I have down time at Nameste, I am researching grants I am qualified for as a Main Street business, a woman, and anything other categories I fit into as a business owner,” Davis said.
“It takes time, but it is worth it. I recently applied for the American Express and American Main Street grant and found I was eligible to possibly receive funds being offered to beauty shops. The process was easy, as I completed the application online, downloaded pictures of the business, and itemized my wish list should I be awarded the monies.
“There were guidelines to follow such as being in a brick-and-mortar location, operating on an older Main Street — (not in a strip mall), employing less than 20 employees, being in business since Jan. 1, 2021, and other similar requirements.
“It only took me around 15 minutes to complete the submission. One area I was judged on was how the backing grant would give back to our community, which was one of my main reasons for applying for the grant.
“I want to keep enhancing my business to meet the needs of Newcomerstown and surrounding areas. The committee found my presentation feasible, and I received approval soon after. Too, the grant was much needed, but I am now eligible to receive training provided by Main Street America and so many other programs that the partnership between America Express and Main Street America has launched for their recipients
“Although the grant was not large enough to accomplish my entire wish list, I was able to purchase new flooring, furniture, inventory and other current needs. I have extra space in the shop, and I want to be able to utilize it in the best way for myself, my colleagues and our customers.”
At Nameste Hair and Nails, Davis specializes in cuts for men and women, as well as hair color, highlights and low-lights. In addition, her portfolio includes extensions, braids, silk press, weaving, spin hair styles and more.
She received her training from Regency Beauty Institute of Akron. In addition, there is also a stylist that does nothing but braid, so that does free up time for Davis to be able to concentrate in other areas.
Nail technician Dakota Farley has been with Nameste Hair and Nails since Davis opened in early 2020. He specializes in gels and acrylics and offers pedicures as well. Farley received his training at the Spa School and the Ohio State School of Cosmetology in Heath.
A new nail tech will also be joining Nameste within the next few months, and that means another nail station and additional nail clients for Nameste.
Local Newcomerstown High School graduate Jada Duerson of Jada’s Make-up and Lashes continues to offer a myriad of lash services entailing classic, hybrid and volume lashes. She hopes to be adding even more services soon.
“Having so many great services under one big roof gives me a happy feeling,” Davis said. “Nameste’s goal is for you to come in, sit down and relax. We here at Nameste want you to enjoy this beautiful space we have created for you, but I strive to offer even more.
“We have a little gem here, and there is so much extra I can do, but it does takes grants, and I am willing to put in the time to continue applying for them. I hope to carry on in making improvements inside and outside. I want my storefront to fit in with the historical vibe of old Main Street.
“I love the paint color the Newcomerstown Library recently chose for the annex, and I want to go with colors that will accent that, and other historical colors our Main Street businesses may choose in the future, as we continue to revitalize the main hub of the village.
“My future plans are to persevere in exploring grants, and I hope to be awarded more in the upcoming months. Most people look at applying for them as a task, but I look at it as an opportunity for something more for myself and others. It is a win-win, and as a business owner, you would be surprised at what grant opportunities you may run across for your business if you look for them. Anytime I can further my investment, it is a victory for all.”
Davis likes to keep active as a part of Main Street, and hosted several activities for children on June 11 as Newcomerstown Now hosted its first Second Saturday Main Street event. Join Newcomerstown Now’s Facebook Page to learn more about this group’s movement to revitalize Newcomerstown’s Main Street.
To book any services with Nameste, visit its website at Nameste Hair, Nails & Supplies.