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Women in Business

Women in Business: Fringes Salon

Posted by Shane Kalin on Thursday, May 27, 2021

Tiffany Potter became the first small business owner in her family when she bought the long-standing Fringes Salon. Learn how Northwest Bank helped with a flawless transition.

image of Tiffany Potter doing hair

Tiffany Potter Chases Her Passion to Business Ownership

While the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting much of the world down, small businesses still had to find a way forward. For some, this meant navigating new safety protocols, withstanding temporary closures, or applying for assistance programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. For others, it meant passing the business off to new ownership. This was the case for Fringes Salon in Omaha.

Fringes Salon has been a mainstay in the community for 28 years and offers haircare for both men and women, including haircuts, colors, perms and extensions. When Carol, the former owner of the salon was ready to sell and partially retire, she chose one of her employees, Tiffany Potter, to be her successor. The timing of the transition was unexpected for Tiffany, but she didn’t let that stop her.

“Opening my own salon was something I was considering but wasn’t planning for it to happen this soon, and especially not during a pandemic,” Tiffany said. “It may not have been the timing I had in mind, but it was the right opportunity, so I jumped at it.”

Taking over a small business during a pandemic was nerve-racking for Tiffany. Right off the bat, they were operating with additional cleaning procedures, wearing masks and doing everything they could to keep their customers and themselves safe. But with help from Carol, who has continued to be a mentor to her, and from Northwest Bank, Tiffany experienced a smooth transition of ownership and is off to a successful start as a new business owner.

The story of how Tiffany became the first small business owner in her family started a little over 10 years ago.  

Chasing a Passion

Although she enjoyed doing hair as a kid and in high school, it was not something Tiffany considered doing professionally right away. After high school, she took a desk job and lived the 9-to-5 life, but discovered she wasn’t happy doing it. That’s when Tiffany decided to pursue a career as a hairstylist.

“I decided to go for it and I’m so glad that I decided to change career paths,” Tiffany said. “I think when you’re passionate about something, it just falls into place and it really has over the years.”

After finishing cosmetology school at Pensacola State College, she eventually moved back home to Omaha and worked as a teacher for a hair color company. During this time, Fringes was one of her favorite salons to visit.

“Everybody there was very personable and smiled at you when you walked in,” she recalled. “The salon had a really good feeling with a family vibe.”

Carol offered Tiffany a chance to return to styling, so she got back behind the chair and started taking clients.

Having been a part of the community for 28 years, Carol had established a reputation and a culture that worked. Since taking over in September 2020, Tiffany has upgraded the building and made tweaks here and there to make the business feel more and more like it is truly her own.

The fun, family-oriented atmosphere and diverse clientele have all stuck around — even Carol, who works at the Salon part-time.

A Smooth Transition With Northwest Bank

The transfer of ownership can be stressful, but Shane Kalin, a commercial banker for Northwest Bank, was there to help every step of the way.

“Shane was a huge, huge help through all of the paperwork and everything we had to look into and learn about to make sure the sale of the business would be successful,” Tiffany said. “It was just a flawless transition. For me and Carol, the smooth transition was a sign that this was meant to be.”

When the paperwork was signed, Tiffany was overcome with emotion as Shane presented her with a plaque commemorating her status as an official business owner.

“Everything built up until that point and I wasn’t expecting it,” Tiffany said. “I was really proud of what I had achieved. The fact that he even thought about doing something like that was so sweet.”

The personalized service didn’t stop there. Shane reached out to let Tiffany know about financial assistance that was available through the Small Business Administration to kickstart her first six months as a business owner. Shane even continues to visit the salon to get his hair cut.

After her experience, Tiffany believes that if someone is passionate about something and they are willing to work hard for it, they are going to be successful.

To learn more about buying an existing business or starting one from the ground up, contact a commercial banker from Northwest Bank today.

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The Author

Shane Kalin

Shane Kalin

Ag/Commercial Banker

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