Princess Dempsey was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and attended high school in Hillside. She's a resident of Broadview and a businessowner of three businesses in nearby Westchester.
Growing up she knew one thing for certain, she didn't have to be into glamour to be beautiful. She remembered being a tomboy as a kid and getting into lots of fights. She graduated high school at Proviso West in Hillside in '86 and has done a great deal of business as an adult in the Proviso Township area. For years she's owned one of the few minority and women owned staffing firms in the entire country.
These types of businesses were important to Dempsey because they helped people in her neighborhoods who needed help the most.
Dempsey said when she was only 7 years old, she assisted her grandfather whom at that time owned a store in Chicago.
"I've worked hard my entire life," said Dempsey. "I've gained so much discipline and knowledge."
She recalled waking up early as a child to work, not play.
"As a child, I watched my grandfather build his own store," Dempsey said. "I had a work life, while other kids my age were playing jump rope and jax. I would be shelving products and opening up for business."
She remembered growing up on the southside of Chicago and having exposure to business before some were even exposed to elementary school. She learned from her grandfather, good business versus bad businesses. She grew up into a woman and held on tightly to the things she learned from her grandfather.
Dempsey realized growing up and shopping at certain beauty-supply stores ( where she said she experienced discrimination ) was not good business. "The owners would follow you through their store as if you were a criminal," said Dempsey. "Media has given them a bad image of African-Americans, and they didn't seem to trust us in their beauty supply stores. Those storeowners did not respect us."
Dempsey said the most shocking factor of it all is that Black women spent their money at many of those beauty supplies.
"I realized that we were being forced to shop at other owned beauty supplies because we didn't have anything that was carrying our products we needed as Black women."
That's when Dempsey realized that Black women needed a Black-owned beauty supply. So, Dempsey decided to take her business to Westchester, where she had already opened her other two businesses.
"I like doing business in Westchester because the town leaders are not all about politics. Some of these towns are pay-to-playand that is not good business," said Dempsey.
Princess Delights Beauty Supply celebrated its grand opening this past summer. Neighborhood people were so excited to be a part of the opening and Dempsey reported that before noon that day, she sold more than $1,000 in products. Many locals suspect that her store was one of few Black owned beauty supply stores in Proviso Townshipbut either way, a Black-owned store carrying these items was rare. Dempsey said her store stands for something huge.
"It's time for African-Americans to open up their own, run their own and spend money with their own. It's nothing bad about that," Dempsey said. "That's why opening up this store in an area I grew up in was so important to me. That is why Princess Delights Beauty Supply is important to this neighborhood."
Dempsey is a mother of four boys and said one thing she hopes her sons understand is the importance of business. She encouraged today's generation to become business owners in their own neighborhoods. She advised all young people to study other business owners and learn from them.
"Don't be cheap; otherwise, you'll get cheap results," Dempsey said. "Step out on faith and trust me, nobody can come against you."
Princess Delights is at 1907 Mannheim Rd. in Westchester. The store is open for business Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The store is closed on Sundays. Visit princess-delights.com or call 708-938-5427 for more information.