Once upon a time, back in 2003, the economy was booming, the forecast was sunny, and Andi Marie Jones was a 28-year-old event planner dealing with “bridezillas” in Dallas. Five years and two near-fatal close calls later—one with her heart, one in a car—Jones decided to realize her dream: to open a salon. In New York.
Of course, this is not, shall we say, the best environment in which to open a new business. So why now? Well, she didn’t exactly cook up this scheme yesterday. She spent two years on a business plan. She spent a year at the Aveda Institute. She spent another two years looking for the right space, six months negotiating a lease, and an additional year renovating her shop. Then she opened her Sanctuary Salon in Brooklyn on October 2—just two weeks after Lehman Brothers toppled, kicking out the last legs of the economy.
Thankfully—improbably—Jones isn’t doing this alone. There are two other locally owned businesses that have opened up on the same block—My Little India, a home-décor store, and Nunu Chocolates—in similar, charmingly refurbished storefronts, all of which are owned by Barbara Koz Paley’s Atlantic Assets Group. Those last two shops are retail pop-ups, on short leases for the holidays (with options to continue), but Jones has signed a ten-year lease. So she, by necessity (both business-wise and morale-wise), is looking forward, past this downturn, however long it lasts. “I can’t wait to see us in five years,” she says. Back in 2003, new boutiques on Atlantic arrived as mixed blessings, signaling both displacement and renewal. But in this climate, in this season, these new stores simply represent hope.