DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was released from jail Thursday afternoon, the question remained about what she would do with the $500,000 that a GoFundMe page raised for her since the situation began two weeks ago.
On Friday, Luther stood in front of her Dallas business, Salon A La Mode, and talked about what she plans to do with the money. Her comments also came after U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz paid a visit to her salon in the morning to offer support and get a haircut.
Luther has been in a nearly two-week fight with local officials after she reopened her salon even though doing so defied stay-at-home orders. Dallas judge Eric Moye found her in contempt of court Tuesday after she refused to apologize for her actions, which included publicly tearing up a cease-and-desist letter from the county.
She was sentenced to seven days in jail on Tuesday, but with the help of state leaders like Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott, she was able to be set free on Thursday.
Throughout her fight, supporters have been donating to a GoFundMe page that was set up for her. It eventually met its goal of $500,000. Now, Luther says she wants to spread that wealth to those who need it.
After using some of that money to help pay her legal fees and mortgage, she says she has other plans in mind, too.
“We have already planned on spreading some of that gift today in South Dallas. I’ve already reached out, trying to get in contact with the two ladies in Laredo and I would like to pay for any of their attorney fees, any citations they have, and maybe give them a little bit of head-start money,” Luther said.
The two women from Laredo who Luther mentioned are Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia, 31, and Brenda Stephanie Mata, 20. They were both arrested on April 15 for allegedly offering beauty services from their homes, which also violates emergency orders during the pandemic. The pair were released on bond that same day.
The two women were also mentioned by Abbott after he modified his executive orders Wednesday to eliminate jail time for violating those orders.
Despite some backlash she has received from other small business owners, Luther said she believes her fight helped lead to orders from Abbott earlier this week that allowed businesses like salons and barber shops to reopen on Friday, May 8, which was 10 days before leaders believed those places would reopen.
“I had to do what I felt was right in this situation, and whether they support it or not… if they’re a salon owner, they are getting to open 10 days earlier,” Luther said.
“And you think that’s because of your case?” CBS 11 reporter Jack Fink asked. “I think it has a lot to do with my case,” she responded.
Salons and barber shops are now reopened in Texas but with restrictions in place that still follow social distancing guidelines. Last week, businesses like retail store and restaurants reopened at a 25% capacity.