Brittini Adams grew up in beauty salons. Her grandmother, Marilyn Adams-Pope, has been doing hair for more than 40 years at various locations in Milledgeville. Adams spent hours of her childhood in the shop with her grandmother, surrounded by hardworking women. She admits that as a child, she was often impatient to leave the salon by the end of a long day. What she did not realize at the time is that the seeds of her future were already being planted.
Adams eventually went to cosmetology school. Though she has been doing hair on and off for about 10 years, she had never quite found her professional niche. Adams experienced some obstacles in her personal life that were also holding her back from realizing her dreams. Fortunately, her grandmother was there to help pick her up and encourage her.
“My grandma really anchored me in what I was going to do,” said Adams. “She’s my backbone.”
With her grandmother’s encouragement, Adams decided to look into opening her own salon. It was during this time that she happened to ride by the building at 800 N. Wayne St. where her grandmother had done hair for several years during her childhood. Adams felt a special connection with the space.
“I probably grew up here from a toddler probably up to the age of 9 or 10,” said Adams. “I think the child in me still is running around in here.”
She reached out to longtime building owner, Luein Reeves Jr., the man many affectionally know as “Popeye.” Reeves was the one who had turned the building into a salon decades ago, renting booths to several female stylists, including Adams’s grandmother.
“He saw that vision back 20 years ago,” said Adams.
Adams recently met with Reeves about turning the building into a salon once again. She said she knew it was the right spot the moment she walked in the door.
“I’ve been in many shops, but my soul was at ease. I was home. I nearly kicked my shoes off,” said Adams. “It was an honor that he [Reeves] let me come in here because a lot of people wanted this place.”
Adams has rechristened the location The Roots Hair Salon & Boutique, a name that has meaning both for hairstyling and for what coming back to the space she grew up in means to her. She opened her doors to business on Nov. 21.
Opening her own business in a place where her grandmother worked for years is a way for Adams to pay homage to the hardworking roots of her family.
“I just really wanted to walk into my grandmother’s legacy,” said Adams.
Adams-Pope has a long history of hard work, having held more than one job at many points throughout her teenage and adult years. Years ago, she and her husband ran a restaurant on West McIntosh Street where the police department now stands. Her husband went on to become the first Black man to own a business in what was then known as the Hatcher Square Mall.
“He was an entrepreneur, but he was a jack of all trades,” said Adams-Pope of her late husband, who died of a heart attack in his early 40s.
Though Adams never knew her grandfather, she feels his legacy of dedication to his work, as well as the direct influence of her grandmother, has left an indelible mark on her. Adams-Pope says she has always pushed her granddaughter to be the best she can be.
“I always tell her, ‘Always set goals for yourself. Set them high,’” said Adams-Pope. “Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do it.”
Adams is eager to make her grandmother proud with the opening of The Roots. She will provide all standard salon services including haircuts, color, locks, natural hair, blowouts and quick weaves. She is also working on bringing staff members on board who will specialize in braiding, weaves and nail care. Adams stresses that people of all age, gender and race are welcome inside her shop.
“I’m trying to be a full-service salon,” said Adams.
Opening the salon during the pandemic has even more significance for Adams as her grandmother was very sick with COVID-19 earlier this year.
“We almost lost her,” said Adams. “God showed me life without her. That was the longest four or five months of my life.”
Adams said she is proud to carry on the lessons she has learned from her grandmother in a location that means so much to both of them.
“It’s just an honor that I can come back to my roots where I started,” said Adams.
The Roots Hair Salon & Boutique
800 N. Wayne St. Milledgeville