Carnell Vann grew up in Frayser and, as he puts it, has been in love with that community his entire life. He is excited and inspired by the recent development across Frayser.
Vann just recently reopened amid the COVID-19 pandemic after closing for two months, adhering to the guidelines put in place for salons and barbers. We sat down with him a couple of weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak and his love for his community and this city shine through.
“As I ride down Thomas, I see the growth going on and all of the new stores, the new venues that are constantly popping up,” said Vann. “I see a lot of revenue dollars coming to Frayser.”
Vann has more than 20 years of experience as a professional barber. He spent his career working in barber shops and building a loyal clientele. Last year, he decided it was time he opened his own shop.
“They are selling a lot of homes and getting more people in here,” said Vann. “So, I feel like I needed to be over in this area to accommodate the people who need a barber.”
He opened Vann Cut last year in a small shopping center near Watkins and I-40, located near several neighborhoods. The space needed more than $50,000 in renovations to build out the interior and improve the visibility of the exterior. EDGE awarded Vann a $20,000 Inner City Economic Development (ICED) Loan in 2019 to help complete those renovations. He said that the loan helped him tremendously, allowing him to focus more of his money on growing his business.
“I used a majority of my money and EDGE helped me out a whole lot,” said Vann. “Now I am able to do more marketing than what I was doing at first. Now I’m able to go out and go to other schools and promote more. Now I have something more to offer the barbers when they come in. I am trying to make it look nice. I am trying to make this shop look better than the shops across the City of Memphis as well as in Frayser.”
Vann said business is great.
“I advise all of the guys who have a business out in Frayser, that they need to understand – Don’t move,” said Vann. “Stay where you are because Frayser is growing. If you want to venture out, do something, that is fine but keep your business open in Frayser. Love Frayser like I love Frayser.”