Bizline: The HairitagePublished 8:51pm Thursday, August 30, 2012
Name of owner: Debbe Meyers
Address of business: 142 S. Front St. since October 2005
Telephone number: (269) 782-3693
Date business opened: It’s the 40th anniversary. Known as Flair Hair Fashions in 1972, the salon was located a block south where Curves is and John Blow’s Johnny’s Dress Shop was. I bought it in ’78. Then we moved to where Hope’s Door is for 17 years. I didn’t want to rent the rest of my life. I waited for (Danette Fish’s Perk ’n Beans) building to become available because I knew the tin ceilings and brick walls would be a good fit.
What type of services do you provide? We have everything related to hair — perming, color, wedding ’dos. There are eight of us (stylists). We do manicures and pedicures. We have a tanning room and a massage therapy room. There are two apartments upstairs. One is newly-remodeled, two bedrooms and completely furnished for executives who don’t want to haul furniture. The building is 180 years old. Phillipson’s (men’s clothing) was here for 134 years. The downstairs (Alley Cat) generates income, the ground floor generates income and the apartments generate income. It takes all three to pay the bill.”
Where are you from and why did you decide to open in Cass County? Cassopolis. I came here to work (for Barb Smith).
What sets your business apart? Quality employees. Customers don’t go to The Hairitage so much as they go to whoever they relate to because of their personality as much as their skill.
What types of customers do you reach? Our computer has over 5,000 customers. Kids who used to come in are now parents bringing their kids. You end up doing generations, not just local residents, but resorters from the lakes. Our customer count averages 150 to 220 a week pretty consistently.
There is a little bit of a rush before every holiday and before school starts and Friday is busy before the weekend. When I was young, I used to go with my mom to the hairdresser and loved the smells and pretty bottles. I did my grandma’s hair when I was 12, and I did my mom’s and her girlfriends. I started out waiting tables in a coffee shop in Cassopolis. That was my first paycheck job. I went from there to Diamond Harbor while going to beauty school nights (two years at Sister Lakes Beauty Academy with its first class).
I worked there five years. My mother worked there when it was Shore Acres Hotel. Learning fine dining was a good education, from the wine list to how to make a Caesar salad at the table. You can teach people what to do on the computer, but people skills are hard to teach, to answer that phone with a friendly personal touch.