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Indianapolis small businesses battle the pandemic

Economic survival is tough
Posted at 5:20 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 19:32:54-05

INDIANAPOLIS — In late February, just weeks before the pandemic hit, Dapo and Shirley Milligan opened “Urban Beauty Supply” on the southeast side, not knowing what would soon unfold.

“I called into question, did we do the right thing?” asks Dapo Milligan. “At the right time and everything else?” Located at Emerson Avenue and Thompson Road, he said. "I would sit here for weeks at a time and there would be no customers.”

Dapo and his wife Shirley opened a full service beauty supply store February 27th, including, “hair extensions, accessories, things for your nails, things for gentlemen,” he said, only to have to close their doors weeks later, and even for a month or two at a time, because no one was coming in.

“This is all we have. I can’t continue to dig into a well that has very limited resources,” said Milligan. “So what are we going to do now, honestly?”

A dream business two years in the making, their goal was to support local product makers, too. “Shape butter and whipped butter and things of that nature,” says Milligan. “And so if we can support them here with what they do, then that’s what we’re here for.”

Milligan says it’s been challenging to get any government assistance because they haven’t been open long and worries what this pandemic will do to small businesses. “I literally had a young lady today come in and ask for a job. Well if we were at a point where we could, then yes I could hire her,” he said. “It’s the small businesses. It’s not always the big business and things of that nature. It’s the small businesses that really I believe are the lifeblood of our country.”

Wanting to remind people, “We are here. And we truly want to be the hair care spot here in south Indy, to a diverse crowd, to everybody.”

They’re open Monday through Saturday from 10am-8pm.

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