After Jefferson Davis Highway was officially renamed Richmond Highway in July, Prince William County Department of Economic Development (PWCDED) opened the Route 1 Refresh Grant to help those community businesses affected by the name change and ongoing construction due to the road expansion.
Two businesses that already applied and received funds are the wife-husband team of Amigdia and Gabriel Diaz, whose businesses Dominican House of Beauty and Auto Spectrum Body Shop Supply are located on the Route 1 corridor in Woodbridge.
“After working as a Prince William County police officer for 13 years, I decided to leave the force to start my own business,” explained Gabriel. “I opened a body shop in Stafford with a partner, and we discovered a need for an auto supply company, so I looked around for a location for it. My wife knew about this opening here in the same shopping center as her business.”
Gabriel opened Auto Spectrum at 14332 Richmond Highway in January 2022, and his business continues to grow as word gets out to body shops around the area. Products can be ordered one day and delivered the next, making Auto Spectrum a real asset for other businesses. As a result, their repeat business is quite high.
Amigdia’s business, on the other hand, has continued to grow and change over the years. She established her original location at 12788 Marblestone Drive in 2011, yet she found herself teaching others, so she expanded her business and opened another Dominican House of Beauty in 2015 at 14404 Richmond Highway with a school component as part of it.
“I always say that I didn’t choose beauty—it chose me. I started helping women with their hair when I was 12 years old,” says Amigdia. “Dominican style has to include everything from European to African American hair types with everything in between. I also believe in using natural ingredients to avoid bad reactions and hair damage."
Amigdia is a trained architect and is eager to resume that career path, but not until she knows the Dominican House of Beauty is in good hands. The Dominican House of Beauty school teaches cosmetology, nail tech, make up, and skin care classes, so students can gain certification.
“By teaching others, I allow people to prove to themselves that they can do this,” says Amigdia. “Many of us come from a third-world country where there is a great deal of devaluation. Here I can help lift others up. By cultivating knowledgeable professionals, we help raise up the community.”
When Gabriel was ready to open his business, Amigdia was able to help him design the space he needed for Auto Spectrum. They worked closely with the landlord to convert the existing space to meet their needs.
Having two different businesses to run in multiple locations is not easy and finding time to be off work at the same time can pose challenges, but Gabriel and Amigdia make it work. Along with their grown daughters, they often sit around and discuss the ever-changing needs and challenges of their businesses. One thing they know for sure: change is a constant.
Dominican House of Beauty 14404 Richmond Highway Woodbridge, VA 22191