13abc salutes Robert Powell Sr. - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

13abc salutes Robert Powell Sr.

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Robert Powell Senior was a factory worker with an entrepreneur spirit.

In 1966 he noticed that the African American community would have to drive to Detroit to get black hair care products...and that's when the husband and father had an idea.

Robert Smith from the African American Legacy Project explains, "Mr. Powell at the time he started the business had 9 kids...so I just wonder what the conversation was about...honey I've got an idea."

An idea...and a humble investment would put Powell's Beauty and Barber Supply in business. Smith tells 13abc, "He started out of the trunk of his car with a humongous investment of 275 dollars."

Powell began supplying black hair care products to every beauty and barber shop in the city of Toledo and beyond.

These are some of the throw back utensils and products donated to the AALP. Smith says there's a lesson to be learned through Powell's life.

"We want people in the African American community to understand business...to understand there are business opportunities around you and we need to take advantage of these opportunities as Mr. Powell did. if you want to grow your community ...grow your economic base."

Powell's Beauty and Barber Supply is still in business on Nebraska avenue more than 45 years later

His son is now running the family business. He tells 13abc, "I had a chance to go to college but I made up my mind that this is what I wanted to do....It's a blessing to be out here this long and to be able to show the community and the younger fellas and guys that we can do other things ...some right things for the community."

Smith tells 13abc, "third generations are making a living from a single man's effort to be diligent, to be focused, to see the possibility, to pursue it.

and the Powell family hopes to serve the community for years to come.

Visit africanamericanlegacy.org to learn more about the African American Legacy Project or to donate. 

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