The End of Austin

an exploration of urban identity in the middle of Texas

Goodbye to the Beauty Parlor

The Beauty Parlor is a salon that used to operate on the corner of East 12th and Cedar streets, and after six years, on August 22nd, it closed its doors because the building was sold. This is not a rare story these days in East Austin, and it is becoming more and more common. I wanted to talk to Michelle Moore, the owner of The Beauty Parlor, to know her impressions and thoughts about her moving.

“I worked in NorthCross Mall and other salons up North, but I always felt very passionate about coming back here because here is where I was raised and this is where the first black salons and black barbershops were located. Here I can offer the service to my community with the products they know and want… but now I have to leave, because the building has been sold. I am going back to north (Round Rock). Everything here on the east is too high, too much for me to afford. There are a couple more salons on the other ends of the street, and one of the original barbershops on this block, which building has been sold too. I am not sure about what plans are for this building, but I am almost sure they are going to take it down to build something else. I’m going to miss it here. It wasn’t my plan, I was planning on staying here. My hopes for the place was for me to getting a position where I could stay, but not being able to put all my money on the place, I knew there was a time coming where I had to leave, and that time has come…My mother told me years ago, when I was probably a teenager, that this was coming. And you know, being young I did not understand. When you are young you do not think about the future. But my mom and her brothers sold their house and the buyer was able to build four homes in that lot. They were told they were going to be affordable homes, but it turned out to be, they were not. So it is really pushing a lot of people out, specially north and surrounding areas of Austin.”

A few weeks before moving, Michelle heard about the plans the landlord had for the building. Because of this short notice, she did not plan ahead and even made an investment of money and time in renovations and some equipment a few months earlier.This renovations were only useful for a few weeks and are now going to leave with the building. Beautiful murals were painted outside the building by Austin artist Niz Graphics weeks before the moving, as a protest to economic changes that are forcing people to leave, and are stealing the identity of the area.

The main customers of Michelle used to be old friends, neighbors, and even old classmates from school. The closing of The Beauty Parlor is one more missing link in the network of friends and community that is currently vanishing in East Austin. The murals outside the building have been painted over, and inside there is only an empty space with a few splashes of light and pretty walls that are the ghost of The Beauty Parlor.

Michelle Moore with one of her regular customers at The Beauty Parlor, located in the corner of east 12th and Cedar st.
Hair dryers at The Beauty Parlor.
Michelle Moore cuts the hair if her good friend and neighbor Juan Ponce. Juan liked to go to the Beauty Parlor to talk to other customers and share his stories.
A regular customer of the Beauty Parlor accommodates the towel on her head after dying her hair.
Michelle Moore, during her last week at The Beauty Parlor on East Austin.
Juan Ponce was a regular costumer of the beauty parlor. He used to be a journalist and a public servant for the state of Texas.
Regular costumer of The Beauty Parlor during a hair dying process. She was born and raised in the neighborhood.
This is how The Beauty Parlor building looked inside on October 5th.
The building where The Beauty Parlor used to work on east 12th street.

Amalia Díaz is a Colombian Biologist Ph.D., and photographer based in Austin since 2009. As a native from Bogotá, she finds the main source of her stories in urban environments, their people, and all the individual worlds that develop inside cities. Learn more about her work here

One comment on “Goodbye to the Beauty Parlor

  1. Gavin
    November 28, 2016

    It’s always sad to see an Austin classic forced out of it’s home. I wish I had seen this around Austin social media like reddit austin, or I woulda headed over there for a final haircut. :/

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2016 by in African American, East Austin, gentrification, Race and tagged , , , , , .
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