SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Elk Grove, California resident Scira Shelton hardly ever went to the Sally’s Beauty Supply store near her home when she needed new hair products. They never had what she needed and she would typically go to King’s, a beauty supply store in south Sacramento.
Although she said the trip was “inconvenient” due to a waste of gas, the drive northbound up Highway 99, which could take up to 20 minutes depending on traffic, was her best option to get supplies she needed.
When Shelton first walked into the recently opened Charlene’s Beauty Supply, she said she was “excited that there is a beauty supply, Black-owned, that’s in Elk Grove.”
“I don’t have to travel all the way to the south area,” said Shelton, who is a Black woman. “I live up the street…I’m glad that it’s up the street and from what I can see, they’re going to have everything I need.”
They house beauty and hair care products that are accommodating for all genders which include wigs, weaves, extensions, shampoos, conditioners, hair oil, beard oil, and hair wraps.
They carry many brands, including Black-owned brands such as Mielle, Camille Rose Naturals, The Doux, among others.
If they don’t carry a certain product or brand, customers are encouraged to share what items they use so that the shelves at Charlene’s can be stocked with a variety of goods that shoppers of the Elk Grove community are familiar with.
Who is Charlene?
Charlotte Haynes, the owner of Charlene’s Beauty Supply, said the business is named after her grandmother Charlene because of the impact she left when she was around.
“She is the jack of all trades, just like me,” Haynes said of her grandmother.
Haynes knew Charlene to be a lover and a fighter. She said she represented a strong personality in her family.
It’s one of the many characteristics that made Charlene the perfect person to inspire the name for a family business.
“I wanted to carry on a family legacy of beating the odds, coming from nothing to something and let people know that you don’t have to be rich or come from a well off family to be a good person, make a difference, move forward, and do something that you dream of doing,” said Haynes.
Becoming a business owner, specifically the owner of a beauty supply store, was always a dream for Haynes.
Being a mother of four daughters, Haynes was frequently spending money on hair or hair care products.
The more she shopped around, the more she noticed that there weren’t any people that looked like her, a Black woman, that owned beauty supply stores.
She wanted to change that.
After researching what it would take to start a beauty supply store, Haynes went to a hair conference in Atlanta in 2019.
She later began her journey at a vending machine in a mall, first introducing Charlene’s Beauty Supply to the world.
Then COVID-19 spread and no one was going to the mall.
“That led me to looking to obtain a building to open this location and actualize my dream of opening a beauty supply store,” Haynes said.
She called Elk Grove a “hair desert” and knew that her location would be pivotal to the community so residents no longer had to drive 20 minutes.
And on May 15, the doors to Charlene’s Beauty Supply first opened.
‘The American dream’
Haynes believes in hard work and hopes to obtain generational wealth through Charlene’s. She runs the business, but not by herself.
She has the entire family — her husband, Chris and their four daughters — lend a hand in maintaining the business.
“My second daughter runs the social media (account), my husband is my marketing specialist, and then my oldest daughter does a lot of the conversations with different people (like a spokesperson). My other daughter is working here as well,” Haynes said.
For Haynes, she enjoys seeing her daughters get involved in the business because she said it’s helping them grow.
“That’s really the American dream,” Haynes said. “To become successful and then maintain that.”
As for her husband and co-owner, Chris, he always knew his wife wanted to be in an entrepreneurial role, he’s happy to have the chance to support her the way she’s supported him, and his career, throughout their 20-year marriage.
Chris Haynes has covered the NBA for over a decade.
“During that time I’ve had great success because my wife was holding down the house,” Haynes said. “She was always holding down the fort which allowed me to go out and be on the road and do my thing in this NBA journalism field.”
He said he was on the road “70% of the year.”
He reported for the Portland Trail Blazers as a beat writer for SportsNet Northwest (now NBC Sports Northwest).
He’s covered Lebron James’ second stint as a Cleveland Cavalier including the 2016 championship for cleveland.com.
From there he went to work for ESPN covering the Golden State Warriors, and after he took his talents to Yahoo Sports, before landing at Bleacher Report and TNT as a senior NBA insider and sideline reporter.
He said it was his wife’s support that allowed him to flourish in his career.
“(We have) four girls. So that takes its toll. That’s a lot of cheerleading practice, a lot of volleyball practice, that’s a lot of soccer practice and she does most of that,” Haynes said.
As a husband, Chris admits, he felt guilty at times because he knew Charlotte wasn’t doing what it is that she wanted.
Now she is and he’s fully committed to her dream.
“Her being able to do this man, as a husband, I just love seeing her in that state, this is what I wanted to see for a while. She’s finally getting to do it,” Haynes said.
The only downside, he jokingly added, was that she could no longer travel on the road with him now that she has to tend to Charlene’s.
“She is happy, man, and I just see the passion in her eyes. I see the joy in her when she comes home because it’s not like a regular job (to her) this is her baby. This is her passion,” Haynes said.
For the Haynes family, this opportunity is a blessing.
Their family has always been about “breaking the cycle”, Chris said.
His parents never graduated from college. Neither did Charlotte’s mom, who had her at 16 and raised her in the projects of New Orleans.
However, Chris and Charlotte both graduated from college.
Two of their daughters are in college now and they provide a helping hand at the store when they are home during the summer. The other two, who are still living at home, have the chance to gain customer service experience and other skills.
“We’re hoping that with Charlene’s this will change the trajectory of our kids’ lives when they can take it another step further,” said Chris Haynes. “I think that’s what every family lineage should want to pursue.”
Charlene’s Beauty Supply has received support, thanks to the “marketing specialist”, from the likes of Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown, Warriors guard Chris Paul, NFL Hall of Famer and media personality Shannon Sharpe, comedian Lance Woods, among others.
But they’re not just garnering support from friends and family, the Elk Grove community Chris said has been a “tremendous” source of support for their new business.
It was something he and his wife didn’t expect, a diverse community in Elk Grove coming together to support a small business.
“(We got) support from the African American community, we got support from the Caucasian community, Hispanic community, the Asian community, like everybody around here is really excited there’s a beauty supply store,” Chris said.
For Charlotte, it’s been reassuring to receive the amount of support.
“One thing we’ve been hearing is that ‘you’re not as big right now as all the other big beauty supply stores, but we’re going to come here and support you anyway because we like what you’re doing.’ That means the world, man. My wife is having a ball,” Chris Haynes said.
Family, service and community
Charlotte Haynes wants people to feel welcome, seen and served when they walk into Charlene’s.
She wants to create a “vibe” similar to a barbershop or beauty salon.
She wants to look for people that fit into a family environment, especially when looking to add more employees.
She wants to open up the space for the community and create opportunities for others in the hair care industry.
Charlotte said three words describe Charlene’s: family, service and community.
“We’re here to become a part of your family, to serve you for whatever type of beauty needs because when you feel better and you feel good, you’re going to do better,” Charlotte said.
She is training to help clients who suffer from hair loss get medical grade wigs through their insurance.
In addition, she plans to hold community classes that teach people things about their hair including how to tend to their edges, how to put on a wig, or how to start a braid.
Charlotte hopes to have hairdressers and stylists hold appointments and tutorials in the future.
Chris wants to use this as an avenue to give back and show people what it’s like to not just be a sports journalist covering the NBA, but a journalist in general.
He is testing out store as venue to record his NBA podcast “This League Uncut” with NBA insider Marc Stein in front of a live audience.
The store has been open for just over a month now, and the Haynes family is looking forward to the future.
Charlotte keeps her faith in God and her motivation spirited through Charlene.