MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After years of leasing, a North Minneapolis barber has expanded operations.
On Jan. 1, Teto Wilson welcomed customers to the new home of Wilson's Image Barbers and Stylists at 2126 West Broadway Avenue.
The business owner closed on the building last fall, located next door to the barbershop's longtime headquarters. The purchase made Wilson a building owner for the first time.
"It's just so amazing to be able to walk into your own space, you know what I mean," Wilson said. "This is mine, it's a great feeling."
The opportunity to buy slipped away in 2017 when a previous tenant retired.
"My financial situation just wasn't all the way ready and so the building was sold. I was heartbroken," Wilson said.
The barber would receive a second chance in 2021 when the building's new owner decided to sell.
"My situation was all the way correct then," Wilson said.
Extensive renovations followed the purchase, a team working to bring his vision to life.
"The place was rough," Wilson said. "There was a lot of work that needed to be done -- walls needed to be painted, decorated, bathrooms -- a lot of upgrades needed to be done, so put my guys together and we got it done."
Inside the new space, Wilson is expanding his imprint on North Minneapolis through community partnerships. Since July 2021, he said, about a thousand people have received the covid vaccine at his shop. Plans for blood drives and educating people about organ, eye and tissue donations are coming up this year.
The Wilson's Image College Scholarship program launched in 2018, providing 1,000 dollar scholarships to North Minneapolis students pursuing higher education. WCCO viewers have contributed thousands to the program that recently received 501(c)3 tax exemption status in February 2022. The status will allow companies and organizations to receive tax benefits for making donations, moving the WIC scholarship program closer to the goal of funding full-ride scholarships for students. The next scholarships will be given out this summer.
"The barbershop in my opinion is where the community can come in and get their needs met," Wilson said. "We've done a lot, but we've got a lot more planned."
When asked about his commitment to North Minneapolis, Wilson shared this message.
"People talk about all sorts of things when they come sit in the barber chair," Wilson said. "I want for people to know that they can trust me because they've invested a lot in me. People invested time in here. People invested money. People talk about their families, their stories. People want to know that we can keep that bond tight. I'm here. I'm anchored in this community."
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