Owner says gentrification is forcing DC salon to close after 50 years

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The owner of a D.C. hair salon says gentrification drove her clients out of the area and now she is going out of business.

"I cannot afford to stay here and we're going to move on," Latosha Jackson-Martin, the owner of Jak & Co. Hairdressers, told us.

From afros to jheri curls, bobs and fades, Jak and Co. Hairdressers survived changing styles and changing times for five decades. But after 50 years, what it can't survive is gentrification, according to a note on its window.

The sign reads:

"Hello all,

Due to "gentrification" and mixed emotions Jak and Company Hairdressers will be closing. We would like to thank all of the customers who have supported Jak and Co. throughout the years. Without your loyalty and support, we would not have been in business for the past 50 years. We would also like to thank all of the hairdressers who worked for Jak and Co. for many many years. Words cannot express the deep appreciation we have for you all.

Over the next two weeks we will be donating items to charity and apologize for the mess. Also coordinate with your hairdresser for future hair care appointments.

With Love & Sincere Thanks

Jak & Co. Hairdressers (aka Jackson Family)"

The business was opened by Jackson-Martin's father, William, in downtown and then relocated to Bloomingdale in 1988. Now, it is closing down for good.

"There is good and bad out of this situation," said Jackson-Martin. "The good is the Bloomingdale area doesn't have to have sandbags on the storefronts anymore because the city took care of their flooding issue. The bad is some of the people in the community are being priced out. That's the bad side of gentrification."

Sylvester Whitney has seen a lot of change in his life. At one point, he even worked for the salon. Despite the change in residents and the types of businesses in Bloomingdale, he feels the neighborhood is changing for the better.

"It's bringing the neighborhood up, because it used to be bad," he said. "A lot of drugs. There was a lot of drugs around here."

Still Latosha says gentrification is further separating the haves and the have-nots.

"It's okay," said Jackson-Martin. "It is business at the end of the day and that's how I'm going to look at it."

She added that she will not be relocating the family business. However, she does not rule out the possibility that her nieces or nephews could open a new salon in the future.