Keeping up appearances: Local salons still thriving despite recession
by Gheni Platenburg
Staff Writer
Jul 23, 2009 | 1600 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
View a video of local hair stylists talking about their businesses.
Hairstyles and the recession
View a video of local hair stylists talking about their businesses.
Banks, automotive dealers and restaurants have all taken a hit from the tough financial blows that were dealt by the recession. However, Calhoun County beauty salons have not only survived the recession, they have also multiplied — in customers that is.

"People still want to keep up their appearance even though these are tough times," said Angie Bentley, owner of Changes Salon in Oxford.

Like most local stylists, Adrian Frederick of Anniston's Solid Gold Salon, said his clientele roster has not decreased.

"Most of the customers are return clientele, and we basically don't get that many walk-ins. We have customers that have been coming for years," said Frederick.

Although Frederick has not lost any clients, he said some clients do come in less often, especially older customers on fixed incomes.

Many local shops said their reasonable prices keep customers coming back.

"Our prices here are such that people can come get their hair done. We're not trying to rob the bank or overcharge people," said Bentley. "We're just trying to make a living."

W.J. Jackson, owner of Anniston's J&F Wig World, who has been a stylist for 40 years, said she offers layaway, sales and deep discounts to help out her customers.

Clients can also opt for getting just the minimum services done.

"We do dry cuts instead of the shampoo, cut and style. That's a way to cut down costs. Also if you leave without getting it blowed out and styled," said Cyndi Houghton, a stylist at Changes Salon.

Although clients are still going to salons, many stylists said their clients' choice of hairstyles have changed based on their financial situation. Frederick said while classic styles such as wraps and extensions are still in high demand, more new styles have become increasingly popular.

"They're doing a lot more quick weave hair styles. That's where you're basically gelling your hair down and applying the weave on top of your hair," said Frederick.

Short cuts are all the rage too.

"Short, shaggy styles are still very popular. They are easy to style yourself, and with a lot of the angular bobs, you can actually probably go longer without a hair cut with one of those because they do grow out well," she said.

Frederick gave suggestions for at-home maintenance of more coarse hair.

"With ethnic hair, if you shampoo it maybe once every two weeks, you're pretty much going to keep it in good shape. If you just get a good conditioner and shampoo, you can basically do maintenance at home," said Frederick.

Customers like Anniston resident Lynn Chapman, said they refuse to cut salon visits out of their personal monthly budgets.

"I'm now on a fixed income, and I live on my retirement annuity," said Chapman, who retired from the Anniston Army Depot. "When I retired, I built it into my budget."

Gussie Stallworth of Anniston said she continues to get her hair professionally styled because it makes her happy in these depressing economic times.

"Even though there is a recession, you still have to do some things to satisfy yourself," she said.
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