The year was 2010, and Michael and Jennifer Melching were commiserating with a fellow parent over the frustration a barbershop trip with their sons entailed. The boys would inevitably get bored and irritated, and the dads often felt out of place in typical salons. As the Melchings dwelt on their problem, a potential solution began to take shape: a fun salon tailored specifically to men and boys, so in June 2012, they opened Locker Room Hair Salon. With TVs at each styling station and professional- and college-sports apparel to peruse during downtime, the salon keeps visitors engaged as they sip on complimentary juice boxes or beer and receive makeovers manlier than John Wayne in flannel long johns.
Though services include beautification for hands and feet, the salon specializes in precision haircuts, a fundamental component of its most popular package, the Main Event. This treatment begins with a consultation, shampoo, and hot towel, and then transitions to a haircut and style using Paul Mitchell products. The result is an exterior as masculine as the salon’s interior, which sports crimson walls and black floors, as well as a checkerboard balancing on a repurposed barrel that survived the plunge over Niagara Falls.
At Creative Images, stylists glamorize clients with contemporary hairstyles and salon services. During appointments, the staff invites guests to enjoy coffee, water, and cookies that were baked instead of blow-dried.
In the lobby of Spa 7, there is a large painting of a birdcage—but the cage is empty. Instead, the bird perches majestically at the cage's pointed top, poised as if for immediate flight. The image suits owner Stacey Rupe's philosophy well; she believes that the quest for outer beauty and emotional freedom starts when the body is liberated from the toxins and stress it keeps trapped inside. From colon hydrotherapy to massage, the Spa 7 team uses interior healing as a catalyst to create feelings of confidence and inner well-being that radiate outward. Stacey's staff of aestheticians then step forward to enhance the physical transformation externally with a slate of facials and other body treatments that renew skin with time-tested beautifying ingredients such as seaweed, essential oils, and Burt Reynolds's mustache hairs. Permanent makeup artist, Tina Burch, uses a steady hand to apply hypo-allergenic pigments to lashes, eyebrows, lips, and to the lining of the eye.
Inside The Lucky Waxing Company, Carrie McDaniel forges her own unique path to beauty in a trendy and welcoming environment. In addition to providing expert waxing services, the styling sensei—who boasts more than 12 years of experience teaching young stylists the art of shaping and coloring hair—also tames tangled locks with Keratin treatments or infuses monochromatic hair with Glitter Strands. As a nail tech, she outfits fingers with Shellac polish and soothes feet with spa pedicures, complete with a leg massage that coddles calves in preparation for long-distance hopscotch races.
Licensed therapist Jennifer Still lets intuition be her guide during each massage, feeling for areas of tension and responding to the body’s reactions to different techniques. Her staff at Natural Path Massage is similarly insightful, and each therapist is skilled at tailoring sessions to clients’ unique needs. In addition to common modalities such as Swedish and deep-tissue, their massage services include sessions in assisted stretching, which can greatly improve a person’s ability to rescue cats from trees.
Leah Morgan, Core Balance Yoga Center’s founder and director, helms a troop of certified instructors who each pull on their unique interests and experiences to lead a variety of yoga classes. Clara Vaughn channels her personal desire for introversion and mimicking pink lawn flamingos to lead the gentle yoga and meditation classes and Anita Bailey draws on her experience as a mother of four to lead classes infused with a playful energy. With the intention of creating a community of yogis, they lead a wide spectrum of classes, with heated, rigorous yoga flow classes that allow bodies to flush out toxins in the 90–95 degree studio, as well as chair yoga classes for those with a smaller range of motion.