By Jill Draper
Like the bar in the “Cheers” TV series, it’s one of those places where everybody seems to know your name. But they don’t serve liquor—just a complimentary cup of coffee or hot chocolate while you wait to get your hair cut, colored or styled.
Salon 130 at 13008 State Line Road has a comfortable, friendly atmosphere for three main reasons, says owner Giselle Shore. “The stylists have been together a long time, we’re in an established neighborhood and we’re one of the only places that still do a shampoo and set or a shampoo and roller set.”
Some hairdressing colleges no longer even teach the traditional technique of rolling up hair and sitting under a hood dryer for a style that lasts days—even an entire week. But many customers at Salon 130 have a standing appointment, often on Thursdays and Fridays, to get this done. They’re usually an older crowd, and no one looks askew if they arrive with canes or walkers. The evenings and other days of the week are when younger customers in their 30s, 40s and 50s tend to come for haircuts, coloring and highlighting, Shore says.
Shore was a stylist at another salon when the owner moved to St. Louis and the rent went up. So two years ago she opened her own business across the street, and long-time co-workers Guy (Chad) Queen and J. Miller followed. It’s rare for hairdressers to get along so well, the three say.
“There’s tension in the air at a lot of salons,” says Queen, who notes that hairdressers have a tendency to move around a lot, “I guess because they’re bored or temperamental.” When staff and customers have been together for decades, however, boredom is not a problem.
“Our relationship with our clients goes way beyond just cutting their hair. We’re part shrink, part doctor and part friend who can lend a comforting shoulder. People tell us things you would not believe. They confide in us because they know it won’t go any farther,” he says.
Queen was working as a commercial artist some 40 years ago when a friend who became an instructor at a beauty college suggested he would be a good fit for that field. He still paints a bit in his spare time, “but I’d rather be doing something outside. I’m going to the shooting range later today.”
Shore says she also likes the way that personal relationships develop—both with her clients and among her clients. “When we do our standing appointments at the end of the week, people always ask about each other.”
While many of the older clients keep the same “steady-eddy” hairstyle, says Queen, others bring in a picture for a new look. “It’s not only a boost for them, but it affects us in the same way.”
Sometimes the boost is literal. Shore recalls one New Year’s Eve when a woman fell in the parking lot. She and Miller rushed over to pick her up, and could see she was bleeding from the head and probably needed stitches. “I am not going to the hospital,” the woman insisted. “I want my hair done!” She only relented after Shore agreed to reschedule her appointment immediately after the holiday.
Miller has a combination role in the salon. She cuts and styles hair but also does manicures and pedicures with acrylic nails. She has worked with some clients for 30 years.
The space where Salon 130 is located used to be a dog grooming place with white floor tiles and basic lighting. Shore’s daughter, an architect, redesigned the room and helped decorate it, while her son handled the construction and installed new flooring. Shore says she’s now looking for one more stylist and/or manicurist to join the trio.
Whenever that happens, you can be sure everybody will know their name.