Categorized | Business

Beautiful Union: Local business owners balance marriage, companies and uniting community

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Crystal Alston’s typical day normally involve conversation with customers, using her creative talents to create beauty and making a difference in Millington.

Just down the street her husband, Victor, spends most days conversing with patrons, going into his shop to make magic happen with his creativity and put aside some of his blessing to give back to area causes. The couple, nearing almost 20 years of marriage, will bring their businesses — Crystal’s Hair Salon and Inside Out Car Audio — together this Saturday for Labor of Love presents Unity in the Community.

“There’s a certain level of passion you get inside when you’re giving instead of receiving,” Victor said. “That’s a feel you can only get when you give. It’s always great to receive things. But you get a great feeling inside when you’re giving. It says different. It means something different. I’m driven when I see the look on someone’s face when they receive something they need.”

Victor and Crystal are no strangers to using their businesses to give back: Breast Cancer awareness events, haircuts for boys, back-to-school drives, car shows, adoption of St. Williams Head Start with Angel Tree and clothing drives.

“We’re both givers from the heart, Crystal said. “We both like to give. We both like to see people come together. We both like unity. We love family. I think we want to share our life with others, how we feel about things. We want everybody else to enjoy it with us.”

Saturday’s free event to the public starts at 10 a.m. It is sponsored by Crystal’s Hair Salon and Inside Out Car Audio. There will be family fun, bouncers, door prizes, a three-point shootout and more. The event will be held at Inside Out’s home at 5427 Navy Road in Millington.

“It’s a charitable event,” Crystal noted. “But we’re trying to get together and help some of the teachers in different schools up to the Brighton area and Munford area. We want to help a school in Covington and some of the schools in our city.”

Crystal’s business calls 7941 Leroy Boatwright Street home. There are seven stylist on staff, joining owner and stylist Crystal. She took on her calling of styling hair for more than 25 years.

“It choose me,” she said. “It wasn’t anything I aspired to do. I was going to be an airline stewardess. My Mom said, ‘No, you’re not going down there.’”

The 1989 Millington Central High School graduate made the decision to take Mrs. Dalrymple’s class, and her life was guided toward her calling.

“I took cosmetology in school,” she recalled. “The only reason I took it because the girls were dressed up. I never had done anybody’s hair. But when I go in there, everything was so easy for me to do. It came natural. This chose me. I didn’t choose it. This is my calling.”

Meanwhile, Victor participates in his true passion: Daily restoring, renovating and reviving automobiles. From the interior to the exterior, Inside Out has gained an areawide reputation for some of the best results.

“Everything to inside of the car to the out,” he said. “Hence the name of the company. We offer everything from upholstery to carpet. We offer window tint to custom wheels and tires. We offer mobile audio, mobile video. We offer them just about a large array of services. We’re known for customizing cars for the owners.

“It comes natural to me but I’m not going to discredit God in this at all,” Victor continued. “He plays a large role in this. He has equipped me with the gift and the drive to want to do this and pursue this. This is much larger than car radios, wheels and tires. I get to reach people church doesn’t reach. I get to deal with a genre of people who don’t step a foot in church. I get to sow a seed into people that the pastor don’t get a chance to see. So this is a chance for ministry as well.”

Victor said styling and enhancing cars and trucks has blessed him to be in a position for outreach. Once the new radio is installed, the rims are shining and the custom design is complete, usual customers return for more service and just to chat with Vic.

“It was just a passion of mine from a very young age,” he recalled. “I just pursued it once I got older and saw it was beneficial to me and to others. It’s been working well for me.

“For the last several years, most people give school supplies,” Victor added. “Not every kid is just in need for school supplies. They need just everyday things.”

Saturday’s Unity in the Community will give local businesses and residents a chance to donate toward other school necessities, feeding those in need and raising money for students.

“Some come out and support this effort because we’re all in the same community,” Victor said. “I think that we are all more valuable to this community together than apart. We can come together we can make a larger impact for sure.”

As long as the pair are in business, they will continue to provide opportunities to give back. Crystal has been an entrepreneur for more than 25 years.

“I love what I do and connecting with people,” she said. “The people who come in are already beautiful. We get to add to their beauty and that is wonderful.

“It is worth the drive because of the atmosphere,” Crystal concluded. “The atmosphere is beautiful, warm and inviting. We love people. We treat everyone with respect. Customer service is our No. 1 guarantee. We try to make everyone feel at home. We try our best to service everyone to the best to our ability. But the one we can’t we will refer them. We want to keep everyone in house.”

Inside Out just celebrated 21 years in business. The trademark logo has been riding around the Mid-South for all those years serving as a reference.

“My drive is based on offering something other businesses can’t offer,” Victor said. “We’re small. We’re not Walmart or Target. We’re not one of these big guys. So we have to offer you with something a little extra to get you to come through the door. We have the key element of customer service.

“I take a lot of pride in it,” he continued. “I want to make sure when that guy pulls over or that girl pulls over and somebody asks them, ‘Who did that?’ And they mention my name, they will also say, ‘He does quality work. So go visit Victor and his crew up in Millington. They’re going to do it right.’”

So the couple that makes cars and people more beautiful want to share a splendid moment with the rest of the Mid-South Saturday with Unity in the Community.

“Saturday will be awesome,” Crystal concluded. “So please come out and support our schools.”

For more information, call (901) 873-2549 or (901) 873-3999.

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for Journal West 10 Media LLC. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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