Perusing the selections on a beauty supply isle, Bianca Ward noted that it was the first time she ever had seen a beauty shop inside of a mall.
"I love the idea because people come to the mall to buy clothes, so you can come and get an outfit and get your hair done," said Ward. "I'm here today looking for some hair, accessories and a stylist."
Dozens were in attendance on Friday (April 18th) for the ribbon cutting ceremony at Discount Wigs 3 in the Southland Mall. The Grand Opening for the combination hair salon and beauty supply store followed on Saturday at 9 a.m. in the 12,000 square foot space that once housed Piccadilly Restaurant is the new home. The "3" in Discount Wigs represents the third location, with two other locations at 4685 American Way and 3249 Austin Peay.
Speakers during the ribbon cutting included Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr., City Councilman Harold Collins, Hazel Moore, a Whitehaven business community representative, and Congressman Steve Cohen.
"It's important for this community and for this mall to prosper," said Cohen. "I'm here in particular for John Park (the owner). He is a great success story having come from South Korea and made a lot of success here in Memphis with his businesses."
Having reached out to Cohen for help to obtain U.S. citizenship after several denied attempts 14 years ago, owner Park went on to obtain a master's degree from Mississippi State University and launched his retail business.
Quoting American author and political activist, Helen Keller, who overcame deafness and blindness, Park said, "The most pathetic person is someone who has sight but no vision."
Park, who currently employs over sixty employees and gets his hair routinely cut by one of his stylists, said, "We have been able to grow and add value to the city of Memphis."
Potential customers and current staff walked and mingled throughout the large, bright space, with a single row of 23 styling chairs on one side and on the other, rows and rows of hair essential products.
All the staff members were dressed in black. Beaming, Dockreletta Boyd, who works at the American Way location said, "This location is out of my way, but I wish I could come to this store. It's so pretty and big."
The Oakhaven High School marching band and the Memphis Star Steppers entertained the crowd with musical and dance performances.
"It is so important that Southland Mall, the business anchor in Whitehaven, keep bringing in wig stores, restaurants or clothing stores," said Michael Rixter, vice president/general manager for Southland Mall.
"If something were to happen here and Southland Mall goes dark like Piccadilly went dark, people who live in Whitehaven's property taxes would escalate immediately that same year."