SUNY Canton Diversity and Orientation Director Opens New Hair Salon
Seasons Beauty Supply Store & Salon recently opened in Potsdam to build community and offer much-needed services for the North Country's growing minority populations.
Lashawanda T. Ingram has built a new business to address the north country’s hair necessities. SUNY Canton's director of diversity and co-chief diversity officer recently opened Seasons Beauty Supply Store & Salon in Downtown Potsdam to introduce services targeted toward the area's Black and Brown populations.
Ingram said her business arose to address a personal need and to fulfill requests from the area's students. She moved to Canton in 2005 when starting her career at the college and quickly found she didn't have a place to get her hair styled.
"I would go all the way to Rochester to get my hair done or to buy hair products," Ingram said. "Having a place locally where you can just walk in and get products was like a dream. When this opportunity presented itself, I decided to make it happen."
With business plan assistance from the SUNY Canton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and funding from Potsdam's Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant, Ingram transformed the vacant storefront at 11 Market Street into the area's newest hair salon. When entering the space, customers can see displays containing hard-to-find styling products. They may even receive a warm welcome from Ingram, who is retaining her career at SUNY Canton while managing the new business.
"Lashawanda is committed to delivering these services and products that are very needed by people with diverse backgrounds in our community," said SBDC Business Advisor Jennifer McCluskey. "We are excited to see her open her business and look forward to continuing to work with her as it grows."
The rear of the establishment provides ample space for barbers and stylists to serve their clients. Ingram rents the space to professionals traveling from outside the area to practice their craft.
"We have a cosmetologist who offers washes, cuts and trims, extensions and relaxers," Ingram said. "We offer haircuts and beard trimming for men as well."
According to 2000 Census data, 2,664 residents of St. Lawrence County identified as Black or African American, and 2,008 identified as of Hispanic origins. SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam's student population is about 20% Black or Hispanic, and there is growing diversity at St. Lawrence University and Clarkson. Ingram analyzed these trends while creating her business plan. "My customers are college students, faculty, staff, and area residents," Ingram said. "Being an organization that emphasizes inclusivity, we are open to everyone and anyone who can benefit from our services."
Online marketing and word-of-mouth have driven most of the up-and-coming business's clientele. Customers can create appointments through the salon's web app or Facebook page.
"People used to stop me all the time and ask where I got my hair styled," Ingram said. "Or they'd ask where I got the bows and beads for my daughter's hair. Now I can tell them to come to Seasons."
As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.