NORFOLK, Va. - There are many beauty supply stores in Norfolk, but there's only one with a 4th grader working the register.
Anna-Elise is 10 years old. She’s the assistant manager at Blessed Roots Beauty Supply on Granby Street.
“I’m here helping my mom out in the store and helping with the register and stuff,” said Anna-Elise.
When it’s slow, she’s straightening wigs or doing inventory.
“I look and see if we need to restock on anything,” she adds.
Her mother, Nikki Montgomery, owns the shop. She opened the store in August.
“African Americans own less than 5% of stores in the beauty supply industry. It’s Asian-dominated,” said Montgomery.
Which is why she says it’s important to make sure her kids have ownership in her business - even at the age of 10.
Montgomery says, “I want her to feel empowered. I want her to understand legacy. I want her to understand business, business management.”
Anna-Elise comes in a couple days out of the week for an hour or two a day.
“This teaches me how to stay calm.”
It also helps her with public speaking.
“Like communication because I don’t like talking around people a lot,” said Anna-Elise.
Her mom says she’s glad she’s picking up important skills at a young age.
“I want her to be able to have that example and see that if her mother do it than she can do it,” said Montgomery.
She also hopes that her shop not only inspires her daughter, but also others in the community.
“We just have to keep moving forward no matter how small the step is. Take the step forward.”
Anna-Elise says, “It doesn’t matter what your age is. You can do anything you put your mind to.”