Growing strong: Reno beauty supply store providing products for all ethnic groups in Northern Nevada
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of stories included in the Northern Nevada Business View's November focus on Corporate Community — which centers on the world of charitable donations and corporate giving, as well as feature stories on entrepreneurs and women-owned and minority-owned businesses in Northern Nevada.
You can read this story and others in the series in the Monday, Nov. 25, edition of the NNBV.
Read part one here: Joey Gilbert staying active as entrepreneur, wants to bring boxing back to Reno
Read part three here: We asked 2 Reno legal experts: What are the dos and don’ts of corporate giving?
RENO, Nev. — Rose Buchanan turns and points to a black and white photograph of her father and mother, Wartney and Luvenia, who are standing inside Buchanan Market, a corner store they founded and ran in Oakland for nearly 35 years.
“I grew up in there,” Buchanan says. “That was my living room. Whether it was a birthday or a Christmas, we were always in the store.
“My family always had some type of market; they always had their own business.”
Instilled with an entrepreneurial spirit, Buchanan knew someday she wanted to do the same. Specifically, at age 17, the Oakland native envisioned owning a beauty supply store.
Her path getting there, however, was not a straight line. Possessing a passion for caretaking, Buchanan first started working in the foster care system in California. She continued doing so after uprooting from Northern California and planting in Northern Nevada in 2004.
Buchanan said she moved to Reno because she wanted a “smaller town” and “nicer place” to raise her adopted daughter, Josephine. Since moving to Reno, Buchanan has adopted another daughter, Jonette.
After 15 years of working with foster children, Buchanan pivoted to running a provider home for adults with mental health issues.
SEEING A NEED
Three years later, though, Buchanan circled back to her initial dream of opening her own store. That day came in November 2015, when she opened up Unbeweaveable, a beauty supply store located on Clear Acre Lane in Reno.
Buchanan said she opened Unbeweaveable in Reno because saw a need for a beauty supply store that specializes in hair extensions — wigs, weaves and more — for different cultures in this region.
“In California and other major cities, they’re basically on every corner,” she said. “But here, it was something that was needed. For ethnic cultures here, it’s very hard to find certain products.”
Quickly, her customers confirmed this. Unbeweaveable, she said, sees people of all cultures — black, white, Hispanic — walk through its doors, many traveling from all corners of Northern Nevada.
“I get customers from Hawthorne, Fernley, Minden, Carson City,” Buchanan said. “I work hard to have the products here for them because some come from so far. Women love their hair and it just covers the board.”
Pausing, she added: “Even males, they love keeping their hair and beards healthy, so we try to provide for everyone.”
Buchanan said Unbeweaveable prides itself on selling “affordable wigs,” noting that many shops will have wigs priced in the $1,000 to $2,000 range.
“When your hair is thinning or maybe you’re a cancer survivor where your hair is going, you don’t have to go and try to find a wig for $1,600 or $1,800,” she said. “Now you can get a wig — depending on what stage and sensitivity you are — for $30 or $60.”
To that end, Buchanan said the response from the community has been supportive and positive. In fact, roughly a year ago, Unbeweaveable nearly tripled in size, moving from its original 1,200-square-foot space into a 3,300-square-foot space a couple of doors down.
Buchanan admitted the move was initially a struggle — “it was kind of like starting all over again” — but the business has been growing since the summer, partly thanks to the Burners of Burning Man.
“This year, summer was really good, our business doubled (compared to last year),” Buchanan said, adding: “I love when people come in and it’s like a candy store to them.”
In terms of her future plans for Unbeweaveable, Buchanan said she wants to eventually open more stores in Northern Nevada. One day, perhaps, she’ll even hand off the business to her daughter, Josephine, who helps at the store in-between her studies.
“She says ‘I’m going to take it over and this and that and the other,’ but she’s young and she loves medicine — that’s always been her dream to go into medicine,” Buchanan said. “But, I know when I was young, the first thing I wanted to do was get away from the store.
“And look where I am now … right back in it.”
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.