Editor’s word: Our collection Enterprising Spirit paperwork how companies and staff are managing the economic system’s sluggish return to life after its sudden shutdown in March – and adapting to new challenges forward.

Shania Wright, proprietor of WrightMeans Beauty Supply, seen her clients may see what was coming earlier than a statewide stay-home order was introduced in March – and so they have been stocking up.

WrightMeans sells braid hair, wigs, weaves, ponytails, crochet, hair merchandise and every little thing in between. The retailer has all the time stocked gloves, however because the pandemic loomed, demand enormously elevated, as did requests for merchandise she had not bought up to now: hand sanitizer and masks.

“We’re kind of getting into the hygiene portion because we realized the significance of it,” Wright stated. “Now we have a very well-stocked inventory of those things, so that was definitely a direct response to COVID-19.”

Wright additionally has the assistance of individuals she’s named her “WrightWay Beauty Angels,” who’ve been repeatedly sending her funding to assist individuals who can’t afford the non-public protecting gear they want. That has allowed Wright to present clients masks at no cost.

“I don’t tell them because I love surprising people,” Wright stated. “I just ring everything up, and I’m like, ‘Oh, and by the way, the mask is free because someone has already donated.’ And it’s just been nice, that level of support from the community, looking out for each other and using us to do it so I get to see it. It’s amazing.”

Wright confronted a studying curve when the stay-home order took impact. Since her retailer at 2103 N. Division St. opened in September 2017, her gross sales have all the time been brick and mortar; she needed to set up a web based presence as rapidly as attainable. Three weeks in, she realized the platform was incompatible together with her level of gross sales, and she or he needed to pivot to a distinct platform.

When Wright, a veteran with the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, was capable of reopen, she stated many purchasers have been stunned – and happy – to listen to she had an internet site.

“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable being out yet, so they are definitely utilizing the curbside,” Wright stated. “So we’re still offering that even though we’re open and people can come into the store.”

Wright’s cabinets have been somewhat naked recently, and she or he thinks that clients may be stocking up once more in concern of a second shutdown.

Wright’s path to settling her household in Spokane took a protracted and winding highway that began together with her highschool observe profession and got here right down to a concentrate on her youngsters’s schooling.

Wright initially visited Spokane when she was in highschool. She was dwelling in California and ran observe at an elite degree. Spokane was one of many stops for the Junior Olympics one 12 months, and town made an impression.

Years later, Wright met her future husband after they have been each stationed in Alaska. When they have been attempting to decide about their subsequent everlasting change of station, Wright introduced up Spokane.

“I said, ‘I don’t know where I was, but I remember there being winding roads, like in Alaska,’ ” Wright stated. “What I figured out now, as an adult, it was over by Life Center. My coach was taking that route to get me to that community college for the track meet, and that is what I remembered. So coming back to Spokane, it was because it was the closest thing that reminded me of Alaska.”

The Wrights have been stationed in Spokane from 2006 -12, and it was throughout this time that Wright discovered concerning the Running Start program, which permits highschool college students to take group faculty courses. She made a cope with her husband: He would proceed along with his army profession till it was time for his or her eldest to start Running Start, at which level he would retire, and they might return to Spokane.

Wright received the concept to open WrightMeans from her expertise dwelling on bases in Alaska, Washington and Montana.

“Being in the military, it was very frustrating,” Wright stated. “They don’t carry a lot of our products for our hair and for us to do what we need to do to maintain. A lot of times the hair care products are either not consistent, or they’re just not available.”

Wright stated that usually, when she noticed a product that might work for her hair, she would purchase it out as a result of she had no concept when the shop would inventory it once more.

“My husband’s like, with the frustration, ‘Why don’t you open up a store, and that way we can kind of be the go-to for the military as well as the civilian sector?’ ” Wright stated.

What she didn’t anticipate when she opened the shop in 2017 was the reception she acquired from the group. When she was getting every little thing able to open, she stated a younger lady got here into the shop and confirmed her a duplicate of Black Lens newspaper. Editor Sandy Williams had put an image within the paper.

“We were just blown away,” Wright stated. “I’m like, ‘OK, who is this person?’ So we reached out and connected and she was just as nice as we could possibly imagine.”

Wright stated her enterprise has grown by phrase of mouth, and she or he is blissful together with her determination to boost her youngsters in Spokane.

Wright home-schooled all eight of her youngsters, and she or he stated the exhausting work has paid off: Her oldest just lately acquired an invite to use to Harvard University. Raising such a big household got here right down to preserving a decent schedule, and Wright stated early on she connected herself to older households on base to glean data.

Wright stated that when she will get a giant order, her husband and kids come to the shop to assist put all of it away, turning a job that would take her and her husband 4-5 hours into one that may be executed in underneath an hour.

Wright was excited when the American Civil Liberties Union Seattle reached out to her a couple of promotion for Juneteenth, a June 19 vacation that celebrates the day Texas discovered concerning the emancipation of slaves two years after the proclamation.

Wright knew she needed to do one thing, and the ACLU’s program labored completely for her. The ACLU supplied her with “Know Your Rights” playing cards at hand out to clients and compensated her for taking $10 off each order that day.

Cascadia Public House and Big Rod’s Texas BBQ additionally participated in this system.

Megan Rowe may be reached at (509) 459-5382 or at meganr@spokesman.com