RIO GRANDE — When Kim Jordan began her career as a hairstylist at the age of 17, she never dreamed she would be watching a new salon being built in front of her’s, or that the new building would be her’s to use.
While Jordan, owner of Hair Hut in Rio Grande, may not have thought she would be moving her business into a new building, that is exactly what is happening, all due to the Renew Rio project.
Renew Rio began early 2021, as previously reported by Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP), “Renew Rio is a series of investments around the community being made by a private citizen to help promote Rio Grande’s prosperity and longevity as a gateway of opportunity in Appalachia,” said DJ Falcoski, project manager. “It has overwhelming support from the community and many people are pitching in to help make the efforts a success.”
The project is being funded through an anonymous philanthropist.
Jordan started working at Hair Hut when she was 17-years-old and bought the building, which was a separate entity to the land, when she was 20-years-old.
“We’ve been in the same location for 41 years, I was 17,” Jordan said. “And bought the business when I was 20. The previous owner had trailers out here. For a long time I wanted to buy just the land, so that I could kind of get rid of those trailers that have just been sitting here but it was too expensive. I couldn’t afford it, so I just let it go.”
Jordan knew there was always a chance the land/lot that she rented for Hair Hut would be sold and earlier in 2021, that is exactly what happened.
The day Jordan found out the property had been sold all she could say was, “‘okay’ and of course [I] got really upset,” she said.
Jordan said the Village had been having zoning issues when it came to trailers, which is what her current salon was housed in, and she knew she wanted to stay in the village.
“He [owner] wouldn’t give me the guy’s [buyer] name, but he did tell me he was a friend of the mayor,” Jordan said. “So I thought, I’ve got to touch base with Matt Easter. So whenever I went to Matt’s crying, and I was crying, he gave me the name of a person and gave me a card, a number to call.”
Jordan called the number and spoke with Falcoski.
“I told him the same thing,” Jordan said. “I just found out about this yesterday… I don’t even know when I have to be gone.”
It was unknown at the time that Jordan intended to pass the business onto her daughter one day.
“So, he [Falcoski] was like, ‘what can we do Kim to make you feel better?’ and I said, well, if you’ll just ask the new owner to extend my time and give me time. I’m on it, I have found a plot if the zoning board will pass me. So, he did. He extended it to October 1.”
As reported by OVP in a previous Renew Rio story, “They want to work with the community. They’re not trying to displace anyone,” Easter said. “They’re trying to build the community up, listening to the community of what we need.”
Two days after Jordan first talked to Falcoski, he called her back.
“He said, he [new owner] wants to know if you would like him to build you a new beauty shop, a building with a nice parking lot and of course, my mouth dropped,” Jordan said. “I said yeah, but you know what about rent and all that, it would still be my business but I would have to rent the building.”
Falcoski said the new owner wanted to rent Jordan the building for the same price she currently pays for lot rent for the indefinite future, including when her daughter takes over the business.
“But he doesn’t owe me that, he’s a businessman,” Jordan said. “He was just looking for property to buy. He didn’t have to do that for me, that I certainly appreciate it.”
Prior to Falcoski’s second call, Jordan’s oldest daughter, Erin Jordan, did some investigative work, finding out the name of the donor and reached out to him, without Kim knowing.
During the back-to-school jamboree held in the village, Kim decided before leaving she would stop at her friend’s food truck. This is when a man stopped her and asked her name, the man was the mystery donor/new land owner.
“He stuck his hand out and told me and I was like, oh my gosh, this is why I’m here today, is to hopefully meet you and thank you for everything you’re doing for me and my daughter,” Kim said. “He was just really encouraging about [how] I’m a small business, I paid to the community for years and we need more small businesses.”
Kim said she was beyond “thankful and appreciative” for everything the two men had done for her. “They didn’t want to come here and cause any heartache for anybody on the places they evolved,” she said.
This is when Kim found out what her daughter had done. She said she had told her eldest daughter how heartbroken she was over everything.
“He says, ‘well, because of your daughter reaching out to me, that’s why I thought, I’ve got to fix this,’” Kim said. “When the new guy found out that I was in a situation and was really upset, to say he doesn’t want anybody to be upset with what he does. He wants to come in and make Rio Grande better and not cause any harm for anybody. I just truly appreciate it.”
Kim said her daughter eventually told her about reaching out after that and said she shared her mom’s history with the donor.
“I just don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such greatness,” Kim said. “I’m just so appreciative. It goes to show you there’s still a lot of good people out there.”
Construction on the new building has began and Kim can watch the progress as she continues to work from her current building. She said while designing the building Falcoski and the donor were communicative and accommodating the entire time, asking her preferences and what she needed in her salon.
Currently Hair Hut has three stations but the new building will house five stations, allowing Kim to open positions for more stylists/barbers.
Once the new building is complete and Kim moves her belongings over, the current trailer housing the salon will be removed and a parking lot will be put in.
The grand re-opening is expected to be spring 2022 and Kim plans to have an open house with door prizes and an overall celebration.
When Kim asked what she and her daughter could do to ever thank the donor, he said, “just encourage small businesses, small business is what every area needs.”
© 2021, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 444-4303 ext 2555.