'I have to get back to work.' Clients help salon owner reopen shop following cancer diagnosis
Clients of a Bronx beautician diagnosed with cancer are stepping up to help her reopen her salon.
When Sedonia “Bonnie” Croom opened the Croom Boutique Salon and Spa in Belmont more than 50 years ago, her goal was to never miss a day of work.
“I wanted to be a Black-owned business…I'm going to be here every single day,” she says.
Croom followed her dream for years, up until June when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She says she had no choice but to shut down.
Croom’s difficult decision was noticed by her clients across the community.
“My heart completely broke when she told me what was going on. But you could hear it in her voice, she sounded like herself, like nothing was stopping her,” says Tyler Fields.
Croom says one of her biggest concerns was figuring out how she can reopen.
"When I went to the hospital, the question I kept asking them was, ‘How long is this going to take? Because I have to get back to work.’”
That fiery spirit is what her clients say they miss the most about her.
“Children come in here, their parents come in here, their grandparents come here. Everybody knows Bonnie on a different level, but always more than just ‘do my hair,’" says Karen Navarro.
For the first time since Croom closed her doors, she gathered with her clients at the salon on Monday. But it wasn’t to get their hair done.
“We're here not because of what she does but because of who she is. She's like an extended family, and we just want to give back what she gave us,” says client Barbara Jenkins.
Last month, Croom began chemotherapy. She isn't in this battle alone, as her community is raising money through a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses and get her back to the work she loves.
Croom says her goal is to reopen Croom Boutique by September.