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Juneteenth Tenant Highlight – Michelle Merritt Tucker

Published June 19, 2023 by Salem Barcus

Happy Juneteenth from the team here at York to all our wonderful friends, clients, and tenants!

Today, we intend to honor the day when the last community of enslaved people in America were informed of their freedom. In a continued effort to recognize the adversity and resiliency of the Black community, York is grateful for the opportunity to interview with and share the inspiring stories of some of the amazing Black-owned businesses that are an integral part of the shopping centers our company manages.

For the fourth and final of our Juneteenth Tenant Highlight series, we are happy to introduce Michelle Merritt Tucker, salon owner and operator of Studio 113 Hair Salon located in Forest Hills Shopping Center. The southeast Raleigh native is a proud wife, mother of 3, and grandmother of 5.

As a teenager, Michelle attended Millbrook High School while simultaneously obtaining a cosmetology degree from Sherrill’s University of Cosmetic Arts. For her choice of higher education, Michelle attended two of Raleigh’s great HBUs – beginning her studies at St. Augustine’s University and then transferring to Shaw University where she graduated with a degree in business administration. Michelle eventually went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources.

Studio 113 Hair Salon opened its doors at Forest Hills Shopping Center in 2004. Michelle and her team of stylists provide cuts, color, quick weaves, up-dos, straw sets, braids, wigs, and a host of other services in a safe and friendly environment.

Each year since opening, Studio 113 has hosted “Pink Out October,” an initiative to spread awareness about the signs of breast cancer. Sister to Sister Alliance and Rex Hospital have joined Studio 113 with this campaign and continue to collaborate and teach others about this issue. The salon also feeds families during the holiday season, holds back-to-school drives, and hosts an educational hair expo to help consumers learn about their haircare needs.

In addition to aiding with Studio 113’s community events and initiatives, Michelle is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the South Garner Business Alliance. She is also involved with Black Solute, her son’s nonprofit organization aimed to help youth in the southeast Raleigh community. Michelle serves as program planning co-chair of the Southeast Raleigh Rotary Club, Fundraising Chair for the Booster Club at Shaw University, and Fundraising Chair of Office for Scholarships for the National Association of University of Women.

Whether they are clients, stylists, or folks in the community, Michelle is committed to helping others. As the seventh of 9 siblings, Michelle credits her leadership skills to her upbringing. She is a firm believer in “Somebody has to do it, and everybody isn’t able – so why not me?” Although the team of stylists at Studio 113 are self-employed, Michelle says she runs the operation like a true employer by providing one-on-one meetings with her stylists, quarterly team meetings, and regular training classes. She coaches new stylists and teaches them the business behind self-employment.

In reflecting on the meaning of Juneteenth, Michelle says peace comes to mind. She hopes that her ancestor’s souls are at peace after their unimaginable fight for freedom. Even in the midst of opposition, Michelle hopes that each generation will continue the legacy for years to come.

York Properties is proud to have Michelle as a tenant at Forest Hills. Her creativity, professionalism, and dedication to the community are an example to us all. As a token of our appreciation for her, York has provided a $500 scholarship to Sherrill’s University.

To learn more about Salon 113, visit Michelle’s website.