We at Kent Lutheran are most aware that we live in downtown Kent, a community boasting the 10th highest diversity in the nation.  We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to our neighbors, and the blessings we receive from each of them in a series of introductory interviews. 

For the casual observer, each storefront is a nice place to try a meal, pick up some nice things, or benefit from a service, but for these neighborhood small businesses, this is their American Dream.  We hope their stories help to heighten your experience as we begin….

Exploring Our Neighborhood!

All Access Barber and Beauty Lounge

As I walk the neighborhood, I am aware of a quiet presence. I introduce you to Willie. Willie is a quiet, unassuming gentleman who often stands outside All Access Barber and Beauty Lounge observing life. Willie is a transplant from Denver, Colorado. Denver Bronco memorabilia decorates the wall behind his station inside the shop. He began working and managing the shop after it opened two years ago. Formerly he worked as a barber with Wade Schwarz for one year.

Willie believes in instilling pride and building rapport with folks he sees on the streets. Everyone needs to feel that they have value. He has given haircuts to those recently released from prison through an area church. He will give haircuts to those in need and is rewarded with return visits and attempts to pay him for what he has done. Willie “walks the talk” as they say. He exudes a calming spirit and quoted an AA saying that he” Lets Go and Lets God.”

The owners want a full-service salon where all age groups are welcome. The mission of salon is to build a sense of family, friendship, respect and openness and to children. Often children will sweep after getting their hair cut- offering them time to earn a little extra money and to learn responsibility. The shop offers a quality experience. The head barber is Dex.  Ciecie is the lead beautician whose diversity extends to all types of hair and people. Don’t forget Willie when dropping by to get a quality haircut.

I encourage you to spend some time treating yourself at:

All Access Barber and Beauty Lounge

110 2nd Ave South

Kent, Washington 98032   (253) 856-1180

Tai Chili

It is with great joy I introduce you to Nina Saisombut.  She, along with her family, owns Thai Chili, 211 First Avenue South, Kent.

Nina came to this country from South Thailand in 1994. She was a student at South Seattle Community College where she learned to be a dental assistant.  Nina worked for a dentist on Lake Union for 10 years. During those years, she traveled to many different countries with the dentist and other staff members doing volunteer work. During our visit she shared pictures of the work they had done in Guatemala with me. The passion she showed when speaking of the people they encountered was just one of the ways Nina illustrates a servant heart.

While working at the dental office, she also worked along side her mother in their restaurant. September 9, 2002, they opened Thai Chili off of Washington street in Kent.  In February 2018, the business moved to First Avenue.  She lives in Kent and actively supports the Kent Downtown Partnership’s attempts to illicit downtown business during the pandemic by offering outside service on the weekends with other businesses. Even though she is Buddhist, she provides food to church feeding programs. She has provided food at Kent Lutheran for the Severe Weather Shelter, and  provides masks for the community that she herself makes while at the restaurant.

The service and the food are excellent. Please drop in for a bite or order for pickup.