How many barber shops and salons are too many? For south suburban Calumet City, 57–in immediate proximity–is too many and city leaders are looking at ways to keep barbershops and hair salons from piling up on each other. But some business owners think the problem is not the number of hair care establishments, but the number of Black ones.
“It was suggested at a City Council meeting that we look at businesses that are rapidly expanding and those occupying a lot of commercial space,” said Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush. “There was no moratorium proposed for barbershops and hair salons, merely a suggestion of how to keep shops from over saturating the area.”
She added that there are a total of 57 barbershops and hair salons in Calumet City, which she does not see as a problem. But the fact that many of them are located next door or across the street from each other is a problem. Qualkinbush said there are 31 barbershops and 26 hair salons in Calumet City but did not know how many were Black-owned.
“We do not keep a record of what color business owners are here,” she said. However, a Chicago Defender analysis identified 23 Black-owned barbershops and 12 hair salons in Calumet City. According to the City Clerk’s office, the fee for a business license to open a barbershop or hair salon in Calumet City is $150. Some Black barbers and hair stylists in Calumet City think the city needs to look at zoning issues rather than a moratorium on business licenses for them.