By Josh Staloch
GREEN BAY – Sandria Poullard said she all but stumbled into a life-changing opportunity, but plans to make the most of it.
Earlier this summer, Poullard was working for Lamers as a bus driver and her route took her past Mather Street via Ashland Avenue.
It was at this intersection Poullard noticed a retail space for rent and decided to take a look.
At the time, Poullard, who self describes as being entrepreneurially-minded from a young age, had an idea for a Mary Kay business she was hoping to get started.
But fate had a different plan in mind. Cutting hair has also been a part of Poullard’s life since she was in her late teens.
When she toured the spot at 702 Mather Street, formerly Fresh Barbershop, she saw it came tailor-made for a skill set she already possessed.
“This all actually just sort of sprung into my lap,” Poullard, who came to Green Bay 12 years ago from Chicago, said. “I’m an entrepreneur so I do a little something of everything. I actually came here to this building thinking about using it for Mary Kay, setting it up to do parties here. I walked in and the place was all set up for hair. Cutting hair is my calling and so, when I walked in that door, I knew my plan was going to change”
She admits getting started wasn’t easy.
Poullard said typical avenues for acquiring a loan were simply not working and it took all of her savings to get into the building on Mather Street.
By the time she finally signed a lease on the structure, she had little capital left over for fine-tuning her new workspace.
That’s when Poullard reached out to the Green Bay business community and said she quickly got the help she needed.
“I was trying to get a grant and I went to Wendy (Townsend, Project and Program Manager for the City of Green Bay). She really sort of took me under her wing, helped me out a lot as far as trying to get the grant,” Poullard said. “It’s part of the Badger Bounce Back program and she really helped me figure all of that out.”
Since opening Essence Quality Beauty Care in August, the business has seen steady growth. And it’s a family business. She works with her daughter Andria Poullard, also a trained hair stylist.
With the grant through Badger Bounce Back secured, Poullard said she is looking forward to getting started on an aggressive expansion plan.
“By next year, I’d like to have two more stylists working here, maybe a barber so we can cut men’s hair too,” she said. “In five years, I’d like for this shop to be doing well and to have another, on the other side of town.”
Essence Quality offers a variety of services, including waxes, styles, beard trimming and braids.
Hours of operation are 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. Tuesday through Thursday and 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. on Friday and Saturday.
More information can be found at Essence Quality Beauty Care’s Facebook page