"Make sure you do something you love. “Unless people have a passion for what they’re doing, they are not going to do it or do it well. Would you do this even if you didn’t get a paycheck?" – Synia Jordan
A Deeper Level Of Growth
Synia Jordan has spent over twenty years running Samaria J’s Salon at 701 Grandville Ave. Her loyal clients come from all over Michigan to see the woman they call ‘The Hair Doctor’; traveling from across Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Detroit and as even as far south as Dallas, Texas. She relies mostly on word of mouth and her salon is always busy. Maybe that’s because Synia doesn’t just offer beauty services, she provides a safe haven for the community.
“I do what I do because it comes natural to me with the hair, but it gets a lot deeper than that. The connection I have with the people I serve is just as important. People inspire me, I inspire them, we help take each other to another level of growth.”
She specializes in African-American hair but has clients from all walks of life and works hard to keep the scalp healthy and grow the hair, not just style it. “People have always said I have growing hands,” She explains. “I try to help women look and feel beautiful from the inside out. Healthy body, healthy hair.”
From young girls asking her to “tame their hair” to older women needing help transitioning to grey, Synia does it all. And along the way does her best to inspire and encourage her clients. Her services range from hair color (Starting at $30) to silk press (Starting at $40) to updo’s ($45 and up depending upon consultation). And her clients give her glowing reviews.
“I’ve been coming here forever and its like my family, nothing but love” Exclaims one client. “The most blessed hand in Grand Rapids. Will make your hair grow and get healthy” raves another.
This Could Be Yours
Growing up, Synia always enjoyed doing hair and trying new styles. After graduating from cosmetology school she worked in several salons, but they were either bought out or weren’t a good fit. Luckily, an opportunity presented itself with the chance to buy a burned out building that had been sitting vacant in their neighborhood.
“That could be yours, right there!” encouraged her husband. Backed by his commitment to help her renovate the building, she purchased the property that would become Samaria J’s Salon. She then reached out to GROW and was able to walk the property with her mentor at the time, Ingrid, and together they saw the building not as what it currently was, but for what it could become.
GROW helped her with a matching fund program and she used that capital to purchase the salon equipment. She also attended GROW’S MYOB program which helped her understand the nuts and bolts of running a business.
Eight years in, she was able to expand, purchasing the property behind the salon and adding new services. Throughout the years she has been back to GROW for events, mentorship and learning new marketing strategies.
She takes comfort in “Knowing that my family, my “GROW family” is always there for me when I need help or a referral for advice on something specific for my business. She appreciates that GROW is in it for the long haul, that they really care about the entrepreneurs they work with and take the time to set everyone up for success. “I really feel like GROW helped me, they supported me all the way through, every step of the way for twenty years.”
Gathering The Ground on Grandville
Synia is also a strong community leader and advocate for people of color. There is a lot of development happening on Grandville Ave and Synia has seen major changes in her neighborhood in the past few years.
But its nothing new, she’s seen it all before. Back in the 1980’s, her grandmother who was a very successful business owner, owned property on 569 Division Street SE and was forced to sell her home, her businesses and her livelihood under the guise of eminent domain. She died of a broken heart in her home the week she was supposed to move out.
Synia is named after her beloved grandmother and it is in her honor that she vowed to change the inequalities that exist for people of color. “I am trying to gather the ground that my grandmother and mother held. The foundation they laid down that was shattered. The fight is to keep hold of what we have and create new businesses as well”.
To that end, she sits on the steering committee and is Co-Chair for The Equitable Economic Development for the City of Grand Rapids, ensuring that African-Americans have a voice in what is going on in their community. “As development happens, you can’t stand back and allow these things that have happened to continue to happen.” Synia has a platform now and she’s not afraid to speak up and use her voice. She has also become a realtor with Keller Williams North/Legacy Homes GR to intentionally help people of color own property and create a legacy for their families.
Today she owns the home her Grandmother had on Grandville Ave when she first moved from Mississippi back in 1943. She is constantly asked to sell the home—but that’s not going to happen.
“I don’t want to rent, I want my children to be owners and not be borrowers and that’s my desire and that’s the legacy I want to leave, a strong foundation for my people for many years to come. “
The Roots of Her Legacy
Synia is proud that she has been successfully running her salon for over twenty years, a huge accomplishment for any small business owner.
Her Best Advice For Other Individuals Thinking About Starting A Business?
Make sure you do something you love. “Unless people have a passion for what they’re doing, they are not going to do it or do it well. Would you do this even if you didn’t get a paycheck? And GROW is a great resource for discovering and fine-tuning your passion as well as having the tools to build your business”.
Thanks to her passion, hard work and talented hands, Synia’s business is thriving. Right now, Samaria J’s Salon is busy working with clients to prepare their hair for colder weather and transition their color and styles for the Fall. For more details and to make an appointment check them out on Facebook.
As for Synia, she would like to see more women of color owning more businesses on Grandville Ave. “We just don’t have that right now. We should have that on Burton, Division, Grandville and other areas,” She shares.
So the fight continues. Standing on the shoulders of her Grandmother and Mother, she will go on taking care of the roots of her community, both inside her salon and in the neighborhood, ensuring that everyone has a voice and an equal opportunity to create their own legacy.
Connect With Grow
If you’re looking for support for your business or just wanting to connect with incredible community members like Synia, reach out to GROW today.