Anton's celebrating 50 years in Lake Country
Salon/medical spa continues to grow, innovate

By Chris Bucher - Freeman Staff

February 11, 2017

Products for sale at Anton's Salon & MSpa in Pewaukee.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

PEWAUKEE — For the last 50 years, Anton’s Salon & MSpa has been at the forefront of revolutionary changes in the beauty industry right in the heart of Lake Country.

From starting near Pewaukee Lake in 1967 and then branching out to Oconomowoc, to different locations being constructed in Delafield and Pewaukee during the 2000s, the business has always been a go-to place for beauty needs.

Anton’s owners Kurt and Diane Hampton have been the trailblazers for those changes. The couple met while working at Anton’s in Oconomowoc and were married in 1994. Four years prior in 1990, an opportunity to purchase the salon business came, and Kurt took full advantage of it. He then intended to purchase the building where Anton’s in Oconomowoc was housed, but the owner backed out of the sale.

“We were very disappointed,” Kurt said.

Anton’s Salon & MSpa owners Diane and Kurt Hampton.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

But the denial of that sale may have been a blessing in disguise, as he stumbled upon — and purchased — a tenant spot in Delafield off Highway 83 that would help he and Diane transform their business.

It didn’t take long for the Anton’s in Delafield, at 2566 Sun Valley Drive, to thrive at the new location when it opened in 2000, Kurt said.

“I don’t think we ever hit a half-a-million (revenue dollars annually) in Oconomowoc,” he said. “In our first year (in Delafield), we did $1.5 million.

“Our sales grew exponentially because the Delafield area was just starting to grow out there, and nobody had a salon in a spa I don’t think in the whole state. So it was just crazy and every year we grew and every year we’ve still grown since then.”

The manicure area.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

The salon area.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

Taking the next step

The business continued to develop out of its Delafield location, so it underwent an extensive remodel and expansion. In addition, Kurt and Diane sought a return to Pewaukee and purchased a piece of land off Capitol Drive in 2005. The two constructed a strip mall on the property with a handful of tenants and allotted themselves 11,000 square feet for the newest Anton’s, which opened in 2007 at 1231 George Towne Drive.

But almost immediately after its opening, the Hamptons were dealt a major blow when the United States economy fell into its largest downturn since the Great Depression.

“We thought, ‘People are never going to do this any more,’ especially the spa services,” Kurt said. “It was a struggle; there were still people that had their services, but we really had to up our game during that time. It was a scary period.”

Anton’s Salon & MSpa, 1231 George Towne Drive in Pewaukee.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

Investing in education

Anton’s successfully made it through the Great Recession and continued its initiatives, which center on investing in education of employees so they can stay motivated and knowledgeable of the alwayschanging industry.

“We are huge proponents of education; that’s why we got as big as we were,” Kurt said of his employee base, which totals around nearly 100 between the two locations.

Employee education includes trips to the east and west coasts to attend classes and seminars, a two-year apprenticeship program and weekly training at the salon. It’s an expensive but necessary cost for Anton’s to stay atop the latest trends and services within the industry, Kurt said. Included in those services are BOTOX injections, extensive laser techniques and Buccal fat removal, which all continue to grow in popularity.

“We run about 7,000 people through both locations every six weeks and we thought maybe 10 percent of that client base would have those services,” Kurt said. “But it turned out to be a lot more than that. Thanks to the Kardashians, we have a lot younger group of people that want just a little bit of those services.”

In the last five years, both Anton’s locations have been converted into medical spas, with the result being continual growth in sales and customers.

“Last year we had 64 percent growth in the medical spa,” Kurt said. “That’s the top 3 percent in the nation out of 35,000 that do that.”

The pedicure area at Anton’s Salon & MSpa.
Chris Bucher/Freeman Staff

Giving back

The success of the business has allowed the Hamptons to give back to the local community an extensive amount, including donating to fundraisers, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and other initiatives; it’s something the couple said they consistently enjoy doing.

“Right now we’re sponsoring the Team Echelon, a professional bike racing group,” Kurt said. “They start in April and we’re going to be sponsoring a big race in the Lake Country area. It’s a group of professional bikers that take returning war veterans that are having a problem getting back into society and they integrate them through bicycling.”

In addition to owning Anton’s, Diane is also an adjunct professor at Waukesha County Technical College.

The Hamptons have two daughters, and in their spare time they enjoy water skiing during summers, cycling and vacationing.

What’s next?

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the future holds for the Hamptons and Anton’s, Kurt said it will likely involve standalone barber shops for men’s haircuts.

“I’m pretty sure within the next year and a half, we should have a freestanding men’s salon,” Kurt said. “We’re going to start with a prototype (at the Pewaukee location) probably within the next three months to see how that looks and feels.

“I think barbering is making a huge return to the market, and our idea is to just give it an atmosphere and face.”

History of Anton’s

1967: Anton’s Salon is born in Pewaukee
1990: Kurt and Diane Hampton purchase the business
2000: Anton’s opens in Delafield
2007: Anton’s opens second location in Pewaukee
2011: Anton’s becomes a medical spa