- Editor's note: This is a story about and a fond goodbye from Anne Cheladyn to her customers after the salon's 43 years in Geneva and her 18 years as manager or owner. It's also a story about the challenges facing small businesses in general, and the salon business in particular. But mostly it's a heartfelt goodbye and good wishes for the people who made Act One a special place.
To Our Valued Clients,
It is with a tremendous amount of sadness that I write this letter. After 43 years of serving the Fox Valley area, Act One Hair Salon will be closing its doors on Sept. 17. Whenever a business closes, there is always much speculation as to what went wrong. The staff and I all feel it is important for all of you to understand the circumstances under which this decision was made.
Over the years, Act One has maintained an excellent reputation in the community of outstanding and reliable service. Our wish is for that reputation to remain intact after the salon is gone.
During the past 10 to 15 years, industry experts have predicted that salons like ours would no longer exist. New stylists out of school need the extended education programs offered by large, corporate salons, and experienced stylists with a clientele have moved toward running their own businesses out of chair-rental salons.
In the past, most stylists preferred not to handle the accounting, marketing, reception and purchasing responsibilities themselves and relied on salon owners to manage their businesses for them. With the current economic situation we are all dealing with, many of those stylists have decided that it is worth the effort to tackle those challenges themselves in order to provide a better life for their families. Unfortunately for Act One, we are unable to compete financially with the chair-rental option.
Over the last 18 years, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing, talented stylists in the area. They have not only been co-workers, but the best of friends, as well. The Act One staff has always acted as a TEAM in every sense of the word. I have seen new stylists blossom into true professionals under the guidance and education of the more-experienced team members and witnessed the most outstanding customer service possible by everyone on this team.
We have celebrated engagements, weddings and children together and supported each other through the most trying times, too. I have also been blessed with the many friends I have made with you, the clients of Act One. We are all grateful to you for your continued support of our salon.
Owning Act One for the past 12 years (I was a manager at Act One before purchasing the salon in 1999) has been a fabulous experience. So many doors have been opened for me. I joined the Geneva Chamber of Commerce 2½ years ago. I was so impressed with the networking opportunities through the that, six months later, I joined the Board of Directors as a co-treasurer.
What a wonderful experience. I not only made many business contacts, but some pretty good friends, too. Last January, a friend started an online singles magazine, LivingSingleMagazine.com, and asked if I would join as the beauty editor. Writing was something I always wanted to try, so I was able to publish a few articles in the magazine, too.
What happens now? Your stylists are busy looking for new employment in the area. If you have a pre-booked appointment, they will be contacting you with their new contact information. As they find their new salons, we will be posting their contact information on the Act One FaceBook page and on our blog (ActOneHair.blogspot.com) in hopes of making this transition as easy as possible for all of us.
Everyone will continue working their regularly scheduled hours through the 17th. We will keep the shelves stocked so you can continue to purchase your favorite products, too.
Thank you again for all of your support and friendship. We’ve had many, many good laughs here over the years and share the best of memories. As we all begin this new chapter in our lives, I ask of you one last thing. Please remember to tell your stylist how much you appreciate them! If you can only imagine standing on your feet for eight to 10 hours a day with your arms in the air and a smile on your face, doing everything in your power to make someone feel special.
These girls work so hard and put their heart and soul into every single service they provide. Your biggest compliment to them is the referral of your friends and family. Act One Team, I wish you all continued success in your new adventures!
I leave you with a favorite quote from the great Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!”
Owner, Act One Hair Salon