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Montgomery woman uses personal tragedy to forge her career path

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Neke Marche is opening a beauty supply store and wig bar in her hometown of Montgomery. (Photo: Brad Harper)

Neke Marche watched her grandmother struggle with losing her hair as she battled cancer. She watched the kids ask questions. Her grandmother died earlier this year, but not before leading Marche toward a career path she feels was her destiny.

The Carver High School and Troy University graduate is opening a beauty shop and wig bar that features cranial prostheses for patients and customizable wigs for everyone else. It’s not far from where she grew up in west Montgomery, doing intricate braiding work for family members and classmates.

“I started braiding my sister’s hair, then the people in the neighborhood’s hair,” she said. “By the time I got to high school, they were paying me to braid their hair.”

Called Neke Marche’s Beauty and Fashion District, it features a “high rollers” wig bar where people stand to pick styles and order customizations. There’s also a clothing area and a beauty shop — including a wall of beauty products exclusively from Black makers.

Marche said her a lot of her friends were getting bad advice at other beauty shops, so she wants to carry products about which she’s knowledgeable. That’s a big part of why the single mother of three young boys decided to open her own place.

“We as African American women spend the most money (at beauty shops), but we’re not a part of the ownership of it,” she said. “I felt like this was my time to do it, so I took that leap of faith.”

The 1292 Perry Hill Road store just off Interstate 85 will open with a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting Sept.17. After that, the hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

You can see more at nekemarche.com. The store’s phone number is 334-676-3399.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brad Harper at bharper1@gannett.com.

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