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Fresh look, new mentor

West Shore salon veteran takes East Shore salon under his wing during renovations

Jennifer and Andrew Greenawalt's Lower Paxton Township hair salon, Mia Testarossa, was recently renovated. - (Photo / Submitted)

Jennifer and Andrew Greenawalt wanted a major makeover of their outdated Lower Paxton Township hair salon, but they couldn’t afford to shut down and lose four weeks of business during renovations.

And the remodeling effort they wanted for their 1,100-square-foot salon, Mia Testarossa, would not allow them to stay in the space during construction without extending the work beyond four weeks.  

But thanks to their West Shore contractor, the East Shore couple got the fresh look they wanted without having to be closed down at all.

Jim Mirando Jr., president of Excel Interior Concepts & Construction in Lemoyne, called his friend Billy Campbell of On Stage Hair Designs in Hampden Township. The two salons struck a temporary lease so Mia Testarossa could continue operating at On Stage.

The East Shore renovation began Feb. 6 and wrapped up Friday, allowing the Greenawalts and their five stylists to move back into their Linglestown Road salon this weekend.

The revamped salon includes all new shampoo and styling stations, hardwood flooring in the reception and wax room, porcelain plank tile in the style area, a new front door and window, upgraded lighting, new cabinetry, trim and fresh paint throughout the salon. The building was originally a home converted to a salon in 1994.

“We were confronted with a problem and I just thought of Billy,” said Mirando, a longtime On Stage customer. “And he totally stepped up.”

Submitted

The 63-year-old Campbell, who has been in the salon business for more than 40 years, has been scaling back his hours in recent years to focus on other hobbies. He had extra hair stations available at his South Sporting Hill Road salon.

“When I see a young person that needs a helping hand, why not?” Campbell said this week as the four-week arrangement was winding down. “Ego does not have to get in the way. There is plenty of room for everyone.”

For Jennifer Greenawalt, who started working at Mia Testarossa in 2001 before buying the business in 2009, Campbell was a “godsend” during the transition because he not only had the space but the salon equipment in place to handle her team.

“It has been our best-case scenario,” she said.

Campbell also has become a mentor for the 34-year-old Greenawalt. The two salon owners have talked about business structure and Campbell has worked with the stylists on how to build up a book of appointments. They also have swapped tips and experiences of working with different products.

“I really respect him for what’s he done for me,” Greenawalt said. “I really hope our future (business) relationship can continue.”

Campbell does, too.

“If she wants it,” he said. “I only give what people ask for. I am not one to tell you how to do this or that.”

Campbell enjoys sharing his knowledge and he admits he’s still learning after all these years. He even travels to industry seminars two or three times a year to learn about hair-cutting techniques and hair coloring.

“It might not be a line I carry, but the artist on stage is showing an old technique a new way,” he said. “There are no new haircuts in this business. It’s how you rearrange the fibers that come out of the head.”

But in a business that is transient and where egos often drive stylists out the door, it’s important to keep trying to improve for the customers, he said. “It’s about walking your talk and talking your walk. It’s about meeting expectations and going above expectations.”

It’s equally important for stylists to understand their numbers and have a plan for how much money they want to make, Campbell said.

“There are only so many hours in a day and in a week,” he said. “Once you get to a level of being saturated in working hours, you have to raise your prices. What warrants higher prices? Education.”

If a similar salon situation were to emerge again in the future, Campbell said he’d be willing to continue teaching.

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