Heritage Barber and Style Shop has been a client of the SBDC at Alabama State University since its inception. Over the years the business has flourished and the SBDC has been there along the way. Heritage is a minority black-owned business that was founded in 1995 by Vladmir Averett. Recently, the company has successfully expanded the facility which is now known as the Heritage Complex. Vladimir Averett is also a 2014 recipient of the ASU SBDC 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The new complex houses three new businesses: Evening Out Formal Wear, Stingers Cafe, and The Diva Lounge Hair Salon (grand opening Feb 15, 2014).
More than 200 patrons and supporters attended the grand opening of the Heritage Complex, a new center featuring four ASU alumni-owned businesses located across the street from the University.
Four ASU alumni are living their dream right next door to the University that helped to put them on their pathways to success.
The Heritage Complex officially opened its doors on Sunday, Feb. 16, with more than 200 friends, family members, local business leaders and clients in attendance.
For Vladimir Averett, the facility represents the fulfillment of a dream that began when he and his partner, the late Carlos Vaughn, cut their first clients’ hair while they were still students at ASU.
“This was our dream and our vision,” said Averett. “Dr. (Gwendolyn) Boyd (ASU’s new President) speaks about opportunity. That’s her word — opportunity. This is our opportunity for growth and for making an even greater difference in this community.”
Averett and Vaughn opened their first shop 18 years ago. The location has changed a couple of times, but it always has been within walking distance of their alma mater.
“I like to say we’re really at the heart of the campus,” said Averett. “I love this University.
I give back in whatever way I can, because ASU has been very good to me.”
The Heritage Complex, decked out with black and gold awnings, boasts four businesses, each of them owned by an ASU graduate: Averett’s Heritage Barber shop; Evening Out Formal Wear, owned by Kim Salter (’88); Stingers Cafe, owned by Coratio Vinson (’01); and The Diva Lounge Hair Salon, owned by Larnetta Moncrief (’95).
“I was driving around Montgomery looking for a location,” said Moncrief. “I wanted my shop to be in the hottest spot in Montgomery. I ran upon the Heritage Complex, and it’s a perfect fit for me and my clients. I’m so happy to be here.”
Averett has built a faithful clientele over the years, and many of them attended the opening. A list of local leaders and state officials also turned out for the event, including Sen. Quinton Ross, Rep. John F. Knight Jr., County Commission and ASU Board of Trustees Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr., City Councilman Tracy Larkin and Michael Briddell, who represented the mayor’s office. Averett received several recognitions for his success as a businessman and for his service to the community.
“What you see taking place here is what must take place throughout the city of Montgomery, all of us working together to make a difference in this city,” said Knight, who also represented ASU at the event as the University’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “I congratulate Mr. Averett in doing an outstanding job in making this dream happen, and I know that he will continue to be successful.”
Averett said while he’s proud of the growth of his business, he is even prouder of the opportunty to provide jobs and partnerships for those who need them. Averett said he believes in mentoring others, especially young men like 11-year-old Stan Reese.
“I get my hair cut at the shop. One day I asked if I could work there, and they hired me,” said Reese. “I’ve been there three months, and I love it. I love having my own money. I want to one day have a career as a barber.”
Averett said it is young people like Reese and his late business partner’s two sons who inspire him to keep his dream alive.
“I do what I do for them, for our families and for the community,” said Averett. “That’s our motto, ‘It’s a family affair.'”