Wig shop, wigs

Owner of Oregon Black-Owned Wig Shop Believes Vandalization Was ‘Racially Motivated’

Callie’s Custom Hat Wigs, a Black-owned wig shop in Oregon, was vandalized, and the owner believes she was targeted, KGW reports.

Tralice Lewis owns the shop located in Rockwood Market Hall in Gresham. Lewis arrived at her business on Oct. 3 and saw the signs on her storefront vandalized. Surveillance videos show a man in a mask painting over a picture of her mother’s face with black spray paint, blacking out the words “Black-owned.”

She said her first reaction was not to react. “I’m telling myself, ‘Don’t break down, don’t cry, hold it in, hold it in,’” Lewis said.

“What I need people to understand is this is my mom’s legacy. This is my daughter’s legacy. Yes, it’s spray paint, but this is like somebody washing them away all over again, and this is all I have.”

The shop is named after Lewis’ late mother, Callie, who taught her about wigs, and her late daughter, who died before birth.

Some of the shop’s neighboring businesses, including The Other Side Nursery, a plant nursery, have stepped up to help Lewis. Owner Nat Jiranuwatana said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. In Summer 2023, a suspect wrote a racist word and smeared feces on a signpost.

“The racist motivation was kind of obvious, especially since, like, specific words were crossed out,” Jiranuwatana said.

“It was pretty hurtful … I mean, just stop.”

Reports of racially motivated attacks on Black business owners and officials in the state and around the country have seen an uptick. In June 2023, a dead raccoon and a sign with “intimidating language” was left outside the office of the mayor of Redmond, Oregon. The note was referencing a Black councilman, Clifford Evelyn, a retired law enforcement officer who was the city’s first-ever Black councilor, elected in 2021.

According to GM Today, another beauty supply store in Philadelphia— Nat’s Beauty Supply—was robbed two nights in a row in late September 2023, stealing wigs and hair extensions right off the shelves.

Lewis says she hopes issues like this bring people together for the greater good. “It takes a lot of energy to be that hateful,” Lewis said.

“The hope is that the community comes together and help Black businesses, brown businesses come together to stop this racism, to stop this vandalism, because it’s hard to recover.”