Black Business Month: Spotlighting local Black businesses


Campustown Cuts

Campustown Cuts, owned by Joe, is located at 126 Welch Ave.

As National Black Business Month comes to an end, here are a few Black businesses to check out in Ames.

Campustown Cuts

Campustown Cuts is a barber shop located at 126 Welch Ave. The shop came about out of necessity, according to Joe Evans, the owner.

“When I first came to Ames to cut, there wasn’t anyone who was willing to allow me to work in their barber shop,” Evans said.

The one business, The Head Shop, where Joe was able to find work, relocated after a few months.

“It kind of pushed me to open my own business because nobody wanted me in their business for some reason,” Evans said.

When Campustown Cuts began, it was a one-man barber shop located on Lincoln Way in 2013. By 2014, the shop gained a couple of barbers, and in 2015, the shop moved around the corner to where it is currently located.

“In 2015, we moved around the corner to the same building where the one person gave me a chance to work at,” Evans said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Owning a business in a college town comes with some perks.

“One thing I’ve noticed about Iowa State is that they really, really, really appreciate having a barber,” Evans said. “I definitely believe that if it wasn’t for them constantly pushing and supporting me, I wouldn’t still be in Ames.”

However, it also has a few downsides. Many of Joe’s barbers would come to town ready to work, but then leave a vacancy after graduation, creating a quick staff turnover rate.

“I decided that I’ll open up a school and we can teach people to get the skill, get them certified and they can work,” Evans said. “That way, if someone does leave, there’s always someone that would love to take that spot.”

Campustown Cuts’ main goal is ensuring clients experience good customer service and quality.

“I hope they get exactly what they want when it comes to their cut because the quality of the cut does mean something to me,” Evans said.

Prior to COVID-19, the shop provided a sense of community.

“It’s definitely been a place for people of color,” Evans said. “I just love having a spot where people can feel at home a little bit. We got people from all over that are in the shop that sometimes I forget that we’re a minority.”

In recent years, the shop has expanded and grown more diverse in barbers and clientele.

To learn more about Campustown Cuts, visit their website and Instagram.

Visit this website to learn more about the new barber school.

Jai Olive Wellness

Jazzmine Brooks, the owner of Jai Olive Wellness, is a certified fertility, birth and postpartum doula who is trained in giving emotional and physical support. Jai Olive serves Ames, Ankeny, Des Moines and surrounding areas and provides virtual assistance.

Doula Jazzmine Brooks, is the owner of Jai Olive Wellness. (Jazzmine Brooks)

“I didn’t realize the issues around black maternal mortality rate and limit of access to mental health providers for Black-identified folks,” Brooks said.

Jai Olive began as a podcast that informed people on how to get connected to providers. At the time, there were no platforms for Black, Midwest rural living.

Owning a business in Iowa has two sides, according to Brooks.

Accessibility to resources and knowledge is limited, but there is room for growth in the field.

“Being a doula in Iowa, it’s a growing community, and most of the doulas here are white,” Brooks said. “I helped co-found Iowa Black Doula Collective, so we’ve just been growing very quickly, training doulas and providing education to the community.”

Brooks currently works a full-time job at Grinnell College. Having a supervisor who understands her interest in multiple fields helps support the nuances of her life.

“I also worked full-time,” Brooks said. “I think that another thing about Black businesses that people don’t realize is that we don’t have the luxury of quitting our jobs since our jobs are often investments to our business.”

Seeking mentorship on owning a doula business was essential to growing Jai Olive, due to limited access to resources. While the business grew, Brooks began to seek mentorship outside of Iowa.

The increasing popularity of virtual assistance also helped Jai Olive grow.

“I think because of COVID, it made it apparent that folks could get access if they weren’t able to physically get support,” Brooks said.

With Jai Olive Wellness, Brooks works toward making clients feel heard, whether they receive services from Brooks or at referrals with hospitals, providers, clinics and more.

“I think life moves really fast,” Brooks said. “I hope that they feel seen in spaces that will often count out their voices.”

Brooks emphasizes the importance of awareness for Black businesses in Ames.

“Ames is not a very diversely focused community,” Brooks said. “There’s a lot of different things that go on that are forgotten about.”

Jai Olive Wellness is set to offer yoga classes centering BIPOC and diverse individuals and affirming all bodies and abilities this September.

More information on Jai Olive Wellness services can be found on their website.

Pure Luxe International Spa + Salon

Pure Luxe International Spa + Salon, owned by Terri Ford, is located at 319 Clark Ave. (Pure Luxe Salon)

Pure Luxe International Spa + Salon is a full-service spa and salon located at 319 Clark Ave.

“We’re a multicultural spa salon that welcomes and appreciates all ethnicities, skin tones and hair textures,” said Terri Ford, the owner.

Ford opened the salon after losing an engineering position with a local manufacturer in 2014.

“We specialize in curls on the salon side and waxing curly hair on the spa side,” Ford said. “We’ve been told that we are unique in that regard.”

Providing accessibility and a safe space were important considerations for Ford when opening Pure Luxe International Spa + Salon.

“We wanted our spa salon to be easily accessible from a guest point of view and a safe space where our salon family can be comfortable and be themselves,” Ford said.

More information about Pure Luxe International Spa + Salon can be found on their website and Instagram.

To learn more about Black and minority-owned businesses in Ames, visit this document.