Jamestown stylist opens salon to beat unemployment

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Big box stores are closing throughout North Dakota and across the country, and those closures are putting thousands of people out of work. But a group of stylists who were facing unemployment because of a store closure have their innovative manager to thank for their new salon.

In March, Savanna Sprouse learned that the salon she manage inside the Jamestown J.C. Penney was closing with the store. “It was probably the hardest day of my life. I had to tell all of my employees that they were no longer going to have a job,” Sprouse said. She knew her employees wouldn’t have many options to find work as two other area salons have also closed in the last year, so she decided to open her own.

Sprouse drove around Jamestown to find an available store front, and once she found one, she approached the stylists at the closing J.C. Penney salon to ask if they would like to work for her new salon. "Everyone was on board and very supportive," she said.

After heavily renovating the inside of the new space, she and the stylists opened the doors of Vivacious Salon.

A.J. Clark had been a J.C. Penney Salon stylist for years, and said that everyone was impressed with the new salon. The stylists were also grateful for Sprouse’s determination to open Vivacious, “just so that we had a job basically and be able to feed our kids and keep a roof over our heads," said Clark.

But Vivacious Salon was not an easy project. Sprouse and her fiancé worked on the renovations in the evenings after they got off work. They also faced a shortened time line - the J.C. Penney Salon was supposed to close June 18, 2017 but the company then pushed up the closing date to May 20, 2017. When the date was changed, the pair began spending many late nights finishing the work, but her stylists and the community appreciate their work. “Your clients see that, everyone sees that, so it’s a really welcoming environment,” Clark said.

Despite the bumps leading up to its opening, Vivacious Salon has become a source of pride for Sprouse, though Clark says she is incredibly humble about the achievement. “It was all about the girls. We’re family. It’s all about helping them succeed and be great in their careers,” Sprouse explained. And the name Vivacious fits the new salon, because she says it’ll be around for a while.