From the delicious Sweet Life, to the eccentric Laughing Planet Cafe, Blair Boulevard in the Jefferson Westside neighborhood has much to offer the city of Eugene. Amid all of these delicious restaurants you may overlook the small salon that’s been on the same corner for the last 35 years.
Kayla Knighten has been the owner of the Marco Beauty & Wig Salon for the last five months, but the company itself has been on the corner of Blair Boulevard for 35 years. Knighten has lived in Eugene her entire life and grew up doing hair. “I am Eugene all the way. Born and raised,” said Knighten with a smile on her face. She bought the company from the original owners on October 1st because she was tired of being involved in corporate work. “It weighs down on a person day after day. It brought me down, so I decided to get involved with a smaller business,” Knighten said with relief.
For the last five months Knighten has learned a lot about the business she’s invested into. The salon as well as the wig shop both has faithful customers coming in every week. “We’re sort of like a coffee shop in that way,” Knighten said laughing as she waves at her three customers sitting in the salon chairs. As she fixes each wig in the window to perfection, each customer leaves with a smile on their face and a quick I’ll see you later. “I love working here because everyone is so friendly. It doesn’t matter if you own a business or you’re holding a sign on the street, everyone says hi,” Knighten said happily while continuing to fix the wigs in the window.
Aside from her loving the small business feel, the Marco Beauty & Wig Salon faces many of the same problems all small businesses face today. “Being a small business in this economy today has been one of the biggest struggles,” said Knighten. With cutting down costs and having fewer customers than usual, Marco Beauty & Wig Salon has had its ups and downs in, but is still surviving thanks to their few faithful customers. No matter what struggles come her way, Knighten still enjoys owning a small business.
When she first bought the company it came with more than just the regular responsibilities of being an owner. There were two regular homeless people that let her know they would be coming in everyday. One comes in to get candy every day and the other just comes to chat. “It’s the little things that people do in this community, or that I can do for someone else during this time that really makes all of these struggles worth it,” Knighten said with a big smile on her face. Although the salon has been around for each changing decade, one thing remains the same, the family-like atmosphere and the faithful customers. Knighten has held the values of the original owners and plans to do so well into the future.