20 YEARS IN BUSINESS
Salon East Salon and Spa started with one employee, now has 20

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

Dec. 6, 2017

Kathy Lindloff of the town of Jackson smiles as she has her nails done by Bridget Pritchard of Hartford Tuesday afternoon at Salon East Salon and Spa in Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

HARTFORD — Economists say small businesses are the backbone of the nation’s economy. An example of that is Salon East Salon and Spa which is nearing its 20th anniversary in business.

January 2018 will mark 20 years since owner Jamie Prahl opened the business’ doors.

“We offer the typical hair services, cutting, perms, etc., and we also have the spa where people can get massages, their nails done etc,” Prahl said.

“I opened the spa about four years ago and just expanded our space here. Those customers had been going to other places but they came here because it’s all in one here and they like our people and our service. It’s a one-stop place for all their beauty needs.”

Prahl held an open house last weekend at her business to mark the anniversary and was pleased with how many people attended.

“I was also really surprised at the number of people who said that I’ve been doing their hair for 20 years. You lose track of time. It was nice to see some here from when I first opened.”

Prahl said many of her customers have become friends and family after helping them for so many years.

“I’ve even helped some after death,” Prahl said. “I’ve gone to funeral homes and helped them with people’s hair.

Leann Komp of Iron Ridge does the hair of Mary McGrath of Hartford Tuesday afternoon at Salon East- Salon and Spa in Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Prahl said she also works with cancer patients and finds it rewarding to help them through their battle with the disease. She’s also done the hair for mothers who now have their daughters coming to Prahl’s business.

“It makes me feel old,” she said with a laugh. “But, it’s really neat. I guess when I got into this profession I was looking at the beauty end of it, but it’s more than that.”

Prahl said a couple of other hair dressers inspired her for her choice of careers. Her parents were also a big inspiration. They operated Fender Menders for about 40 years and retired only about three years ago.

“I also wanted to be a nurse, but I got into this because I can work on their beauty and help them,” Prahl said. “I guess I’m also kind of a psychiatrist. I have a good ear. At times it’s like ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Prahl said another reason her business has been successful for so long is “great employees and great customers.

“I’ve had one employee who’s been here since 1999, that’s Sheila Hess,” Prahl said. “Then others followed the year after. I employ 20 people here now. I started out just by myself and it just kind of grew from there.”

Prahl said she has one suggestion for anyone starting a small business — something she wishes she would have followed when her business opened.

“I would probably have liked to have had more business education when I started,” Prahl said.” You learn as you go and learn from your mistakes.”

Salon East Salon and Spa is at 1567 E. Sumner St. and can be reached at 262-673-5633.