Tiquita Thomas is set to open a "culturally diverse" hair salon at 23 E. Main St. in Westminster to cater to men and women of various ethnic backgrounds.
Ambiance Salons should open this week, said Mrs. Thomas, of Frederick. The business is her second; she owns a salon with the same name in Point of Rocks.
Her businesses fill a need for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and others who are looking for a choice in hair care, Mrs. Thomas said.
"They have a different texture of hair and a lot of people don't know what to do for them," she said.
Mrs. Thomas said she expects to draw most of her customers from Carroll County, but said people from Pennsylvania and Frederick County may become regulars as well.
In doing research on the Westminster area, she said she discovered that many local people of various ethnic backgrounds travel to Baltimore, Frederick or Columbia for hair care. Many African-American women in Carroll County patronize stylists who work in their homes, she said.
"There was obviously a need" for a business such as hers, Mrs. Thomas said.
Her shop in Point of Rocks, which has been open for 14 months, attracts customers from Hagerstown and Leesburg, Va., she said.
The Westminster salon will have seven stylists, a master barber and two manicurists.
"We will have the same diversity in our staff" as in the shop's clientele, Mrs. Thomas said.
Hairstyling is a second career for the 44-year-old Philadelphia native, who was a banker for 24 years. She left a job as vice president at Standard Federal Savings Bank in February.
She said she didn't see a future in banking because of changes in the industry, so she decided to fulfill a longtime dream to go into business for herself.
Mrs. Thomas said she has done hairstyling for friends and family for many years. She is attending Westminster Beauty School so she can get a license from the Maryland State Board of Cosmetologists. She expects to finish her studies next month and will begin styling hair in the Westminster shop in September.
In addition to hairstyling, Ambiance Salons will offer manicures, pedicures and facials.
Mrs. Thomas chose a downtown location to be accessible. "I wanted to be downtown where people walk by on a regular basis," she said.
The entrepreneur is renovating the former Davis Shoe Store. She has a three-year lease for the 1,260-square-foot shop.