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DC Hair Salon Blames ‘Gentrification’ For Its Failing Business

Instead of expanding her business and adapting to a new and growing clientele base, a hair salon owner in D.C. is now publicly blaming new residents in her neighborhood for forcing her to close up shop.

A letter posted on the front door of Jak & Co. Hairdressers in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. thanked the salon’s customers for supporting them over the years but said they would be forced to close their doors.

“Due to ‘gentrification’ and mixed emotions Jak and Company Hairdressers will be closing,” the letter reads.

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The Washington Post reported Friday that the salon’s owner, Latosha Jackson-Martin, hung the sign up when she could no longer afford to pay rent for the space she currently occupies.

Jackson-Martin told the Post she pays about half of what the newer establishments around her pay, but now that her landlord wants her to pay what the space is actually worth, she will be forced to vacate.

The shop used to operate downtown 50 years ago, when her father opened it, but moved to the Bloomingdale neighborhood in 1988 because of rising property costs. Jackson-Martin took over the shop after her father died five years ago, and will close its doors at the end of April.

According to data from the U.S. Census, Ward 5, where Bloomingdale is located, had a population of 83,501 in 1990; 11.4 percent white and 87 percent black. In 2010 the ward had a population of 71,440; 16.5 percent white and 76 percent black.

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, D.C. was known to many as ‘the murder capital,’ seeing nearly 500 murders every year.

In 1990, 14,919 violent crimes were committed in the city, including 7,365 robberies, 474 murders and 303 rapes. Those numbers have dropped sharply over the past two decades, and in 2013 the city saw 8,287 violent crimes, with 4,078 robberies, 103 murders and 276 rapes.

Jackson-Martin doesn’t plan on moving the salon to another location, but is going to ask the city to name a street after her father.

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