Girl power: Women-owned businesses succeed in Fairfax

Fairfax is home to many businesses started by people who see the potential in the area. For Sharon Monroe, owner of The Rose of Sharon Barber Salon, “it was a divine intervention.”

Monroe always knew she wanted to start her own business. She had five barbers in her family, so the skill came naturally; she wanted to carry on the family tradition.

The salon, at 8231 Cedar Ave., has been in Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood since 2011. Monroe saw the possibilities for growth, but it was not an easy start. Despite some setbacks, she now has a prospering business. “[I want to] be a part of what’s taking place with the growth and revitalization of the area,” Monroe says.

She hopes the area will blossom (just as her business has), with diminished crime rates and increased industry. She would leave any aspiring entrepreneurs with this advice: “Plan, put it on paper, network, be dedicated, be determined, don’t be easily swayed by others, and don’t forget what your goals are.”

Many new businesses are in the process of or have already taken root in Fairfax.

One of those businesses is the Cleveland Veterinary Clinic, which opened in early September at 8069 Euclid Ave., in the Shops at Church Square. Dr. Venaya Jones chose her location not only because of Fairfax’s potential but also for its prominent history. “I wanted to add to that history by being the first African-American female veterinarian to open a [veterinary] hospital in this neighborhood,” says Jones.

She knew from a young age she wanted to be a veterinarian, and she knew Cleveland was the right location for her. “Having my own business allows me the freedom to assist a community that has been left behind in veterinary medicine,” Jones says.

Jones sees nothing but a bright future for Fairfax. She has set up an outreach program so students can learn to pursue what they love, just as she has. Jones wants to continue to pave the way for those who wish to add to the history of the neighborhood.

“I see hope for our neighborhood. I see opportunities for children and families to live out their dreams as well. … I will continue to lead the way, inspiring other innovative business to open in this neighborhood,” Jones says.

This article is part of our On the Ground - Fairfax community reporting project in partnership with Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, Cleveland Clinic, PNC Bank, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and Cleveland Development Advisors. Read the rest of our coverage here.