It’s a Saturday afternoon at the Great American Laundromat in the East Tremont section of the Bronx, where Hawa Sidibe has spent the better part of her day.
But she’s not impatiently awaiting the rinse cycle — she’s busy braiding a woman’s hair into neat rows in a makeshift salon the size of a walk-in closet.
Brushes and a hair dryer fill modest shelf space, as do items for sale: socks, gold-colored belts, knockoff designer bags and DVDs of African movies.
“An outside store is expensive for me, that’s why I have it inside a Laundromat,” said Sidibe, a 26-year-old immigrant from Mali.
At a time when the profit margins of countless small businesses are shrinking, shops-within-a-shop like Sidibe’s are multiplying throughout the city.