Known for its caring customer service

Known for its caring customer service,

JNK Beauty Supply at Pennsylvania Mr. and Mrs. Cho

Home to world-famous chocolate bar and the ma-jestic State Capitol, Pennsylvania was known as the “headstone state” that led America’s economic growth after the declaration of its independence. Har-risburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania, is located at the heart of the state. Harrisburg, with the far stretched highways and rail-ways, international airport conveniently located on the premise, is where Mr. and Mrs. Cho has been manag-ing their business for years. Hershey Park, a theme park for families to enjoy the sweet, welcomes the guests with roller coasters, the Kissing Tower, and the chocolate plants line aligned for a breathtaking skyline. The couple’s beauty supply store celebrates its 16th anniversary in this fun-filled city. Looking back at their 30 years of immigrant life in the states, Mr. and Mrs. Cho does not hesitate to pick beauty supply as their favorite type of business based on their experience. JNK beauty supply captures the intimate and relaxed small-town vibe. Mr. Cho sits near the cashier and diligently perform tasks while Mrs. Cho welcomes the guests with a warm smile. “When we first came to the states, we started off with a grocery store. We also gave a laundromat a try, but it did not work out well. We’ve acquired this beauty supply store afterward, which was the third time’s a charm. McDonald across the street just remodeled with a spacious parking lot, which became our cus-tomer’s favorite spot.”

Any thoughts on the Slow Market?
“Only the braids are moving well.” Mr. Cho imme-diately responds to the question. “College students would visit with their friends and families toward the end of the break to pick up some pricier items like human hair bundles.” Ironically, foot traffic is higher when the schools resume, and better understanding the regional characteristics is a key to higher return when the number of visitors increases. “I strongly believe that the beauty supply stores will continue to live on as long as the demand from fe-male customers remains. People always complain about the slower economy, but it’s unavoidable.” Mr. and Mrs. Cho always try to stay optimistic. ‘If the business slows down at beginning of the month, things will back at its pace next month and vice ver-sa” The positivity and confidence in their work have propelled the couple to move forward. They have acquired the store, which has been standing in the same spot for over 30 years, from its previous owner. To the locals, the store is considered almost like a landmark. However, the negative impact of online shopping has also reached the JNK beauty supply.

Neatly Organized Display
Wig shelves were specially designed by Mr. Cho. Available wig styles are neatly displayed at the front and the corresponding item boxes are stacked behind each style for customers to easily review and pick out what they want. Both the visiting custom-ers and the employees have welcomed this display method. ATM machine is also located nearby the entrance, easily accessible when people enter through the door. It takes up space, but some find it very useful.

Utilizing information from salesman and wholesales
Mr. and Mrs. Cho also select new or popular items based on the advice from salesman and customers. Because the store has been running for over 30 years, many of the visitors are returning customers. Some are loyal to one specific style of wig for 15 years, even to this day! Just like any other long-standing business, JNK also has a significant portion of leftover stock. The storage itself has as much inventory to fill an entire small beauty supply store. “Our customers are almost like a friend to us. Customers that we’ve known since their childhood now come back as a parent with their own children.” The couple expresses how grateful they are for the returning customers and would like to manage the business until they retire.

Optimal Customer Service
We visited the store during Alysha’s shift. She was assisting cus-tomers and reorganizing the display whenever she had time. She was working very efficiently and at a fast pace. “We have seen stores have the clerks follow around the customers, but we respect their privacy. Some customers are offended by how closely they are being watched and return to JNK. “I was naturally inclined to become suspicious of younger customers but because we believe in building a good rela-tionship with the customers, our employees step back and assist only when asked.” There are about 7 to 8 beauty supply stores all clustered nearby. A few supplies not only beauty items but also small groceries and produce but the profit margin is what con-cerns every retailer. Customers often complain that same item with a much lower price tag is available at nearby stores. However, Mr. Cho tries to remind himself that the “customer pool for his store and neighboring store is dif-ferent, so even if the competitors start carrying the same items, one must carry on. General customers may hop from store to store, but Mr. Cho understands that his regu-lars would return only to his shop. A customer who visited early in the morning with her kid smiles and reassures that she feels at home at JNK beauty supply store.

A Special Request from Local Schools
There are many public schools nearby and one of the school principal stopped by with a special request. “Stu-dents are prohibited from visiting beauty supply store dur-ing school hours.” He politely asked for the stores’ co-operation. A sign indicating that students are not allowed while the school is in session, just as the principal has requested. Some questioned the decision, claiming their right to purchase at any time of the day, but JNK decided to respect the local community’s opinion.

Expanding the store with increasing inventory
“While the number of items we carry in-store increase, the physical space is limited!” It’s one of the biggest concern that Mrs. Cho has these days. The available space, includ-ing the storage, is approximately 4000 sq. ft, but after Mr. Cho has acquired the store, he installed tiles to extend the interior. He also reworked the shelves so the displayed items can be more easily located. As Mrs. Cho gave us a tour of the store, the amount of time and effort that the couple has invested in reorganizing the interior was very clear to see.

Unexpected and unfortunate accidents Objects Falling
Once a mannequin used for bringing down wigs from high shelves fell toward a customer passing by and hit her finger. The customer claimed that she was okay on the spot, paid for her items as if nothing happened. However, a complaint was filed after the person left the store. For 5 years, the case was unsettled and had to go back and forth between the lawyer and court. They even had to reenact what had happened with the stick in front of the judge. Fortunately, they had won the case.

Beauty Supply
BNB Magazine 2019, May ©