WSW: A Business Owner Hopes To Be An Example To Kids On Kalamazoo's Northside

Oct 1, 2018

Ricky Thrash in front of Envoy's Beauty Bar
Credit Susan Andress / Southwest Michigan's Second Wave

Theresa Coty O’Neill says she has discovered a rich legacy and generations of families in part of Kalamazoo. The On the Ground Project Editor for Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave is now writing about the people and places on Kalamazoo’s Northside. 


The On the Ground Project started in the Edison neighborhood. O’Neill says there are similarities between the two neighborhoods. But she says the Northside seems to have a stronger connection to the legacy of the neighborhood. O’Neill and Ricky Thrash, a business owner profiled in one of the On the Ground stories, spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.

Thrash says his wife wanted to start a nail salon business for many years. A couple of buildings became available and the couple bought them. Ricky Thrash says he thought his job would be renovating the building. But his wife Yvonne knew that one of them would to have get licensed. Ricky Thrash since he is retired, it was him.

Thrash say he likes living and owning a business on the Northside. He says it’s proximity to downtown, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College make it a good place for someone looking to start a business.

Coty O’Neill says the city of Kalamazoo’s Imagine 2025 plan, includes proposals for the north side. She says they would encourage minority and women owned businesses, as well as arts and culture.

Ricky Thrash says he has lived in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood for most of his life. When he was a kid Thrash says a lot of influential people lived on the north side, including doctors, teachers and school principals. But Thrash says most of them moved away. Thrash says he wants to stay in the neighborhood as long as he can, and be an example to the kids growing up there now.