Reno-Sparks Indian Colony welcome new business
The special guests who attended the ribbon cutting for a new aesthetician salon in Sparks have an ancestral history that predates the state of Nevada.
Members, officials and staff of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony gathered Jan. 23 for the opening of Alluring Beauty and to welcome owner Johni Bill, a member of the tribe, as a participant in the community’s economic engine.
Tribal Chairman Arlan Melendez talked about the vision to step out to become a business owner and the importance to the tribal community as a whole.
“Having some of our members step out that others may follow, and to recognize that we need more small businesses, leaders within our community, (that’s really what it’s about),” Melendez said, speaking to the dozen or so people, mostly tribal members, who ventured out on snow-covered roads for the ribbon cutting.
“With that, we’re looking forward to good things here and congratulate Johni for really stepping forward and being one of those pioneers …”
While welcoming guests and giving tours, Bill took a few minutes to talk about how important the tribe’s encouragement has been.
“It means a lot to have the tribe’s help and encouragement to start a business,” she said. “I’m very thankful.”
Alluring Beauty is located at 1962 Pyramid Highway, Suite B, near the corner of Greenbrae Drive. It shares space within the Pyramid Smoke Shop, which is owned by the tribe.
Melendez told the NNBW that the arrangement is similar to a business incubator, which lowers costs to getting a business off the ground and is an incentive for entrepreneurship in the tribe.
Bill began training at Marinello School of Beauty. When it closed, she transferred to Milan Institute of Cosmetology.
“At first I wanted to be a cosmetologist doing hair and makeup,” she said, referring to her childhood goal. As she hit her teen years and dealt with skin issues like acne, she shifted her attention to skin care and helping people preserve their skin’s health.
“It’s fun. I get to help so many people,” she said.
She became a licensed aesthetician in August and began plans for her own business.
Currently, she focuses on waxing, tinting and eyelash extensions. Later this year, she expects to add facials.
It’s a big step for Bill to become a business owner and also a big step for the tribe to widen its focus on tribal-owned businesses, to including helping individuals open their own small businesses.
“… When you really think about self determination of the individual, we see an example of that here,” Melendez said referring to Alluring Beauty, “of somebody just stepping out and not totally dependent on the tribe but saying ‘I can do this myself.’ To have the vision and tenacity to go out, step out and really be successful, so with that we really want to congratulate (Johni Bill) and look forward to good things to come.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.