Date: October 1, 2019

New hair salon fills a need in Concourse’s ‘vertical village’

The chat can be as crucial as the cut during that half-hour in the hair stylist’s chair.

A client-stylist relationship — even one limited to monthly, 30-minute increments — can be therapeutic for the customer and strengthen customer retention for the stylist.

But the conversation stylist Barbara Barnett had with one of her regulars in 2018 proved to be life-changing for both her and a colleague at the Midtown salon where they had been longtime employees.

As a result of that conversation, Barnett and Whitney Adams on Tuesday, Oct. 1, will open and be co-owners of Hero & Sage, the first hair salon in the massive Crosstown Concourse.

“It was always an idea of Barbara’s to own a salon and it just became time,” Adams said of her longtime co-worker who is now her business partner.

About two years ago one night over drinks, Barnett and Adams discussed the possibility. Barnett recalled, “We were talking ‘Could this happen? Is this a possibility? Maybe we’ll check into it. Maybe we’ll start researching what it takes. And Whitney bought a book “Opening Your Own Salon.”

A turning point occurred in June last year as Barnett cut the hair of a longtime client, Todd Richardson.

He happens to be leader of Crosstown Concourse, the newly renovated, 1.5 million-square-foot ‘vertical urban village’ that houses 265 apartments, 48 commercial and nonprofit tenants, a high school, theater, brewery and YMCA.

Richardson remembers that conversation with Barnett as she trimmed his hair.

“She had mentioned they had considered this,” he said of opening their own salon. “I said, ‘How can we get you at the Concourse?’ I certainly had had years of her quality haircuts. That just began a conversation.

“She had an interest; we had a need. It was a perfect fit and we just went kind of went from there,” Richardson said.

Barnett recalled being hesitant at first. “I thought this was going to be something that was out of our league,” she said. She assumed all the available Concourse spaces would be large and too expensive.

“And then later on, the next hair cut or couple of haircuts later, we talked again and I asked, ‘Are there different sizes in the bays?’ He said, ‘Absolutely. Why don’t you guys just come take and look and see’?”

Barnett and Adams scouted the space, a 700-square-foot bay in the corridor of businesses west of the West Atrium. “We said, ‘This is doable,’” Barnett said.

Hero & Sage — the name relates to their respective astrological signs — is to open at 9 a.m. The salon has four chairs, but Barnett and Adams will wait to hire two more stylists until they can gauge demand.

Cuts will start at $30.

Barnett and Adams expect many of their customers to make appointments, but they will welcome walk-in customers whenever openings occur.

“We do come with a decent clientele,” Adams said. “So I wouldn’t say you could always just walk in and expect it right then.”

PKM Architects designed the shop based on images of salons Adams and Barnett found and liked.

Barnett described the “clean” design as “not overly feminine and not masculine, either.”

“And it fits with the vibe of Crosstown as well,” she said.

Part of the walls are lined with recycled boards. Potted plants are front and center. “We like the rustic look, the greenery, the wood,” Adams said.

The past 18 months have been both exciting and stressful.

“We had to get a loan, we had to get the plans drawn out… It was ‘OK, what do we need to do? We need to have this, this and this,” Barnett said.

They are not just excited about their new salon space, but about being part of Crosstown Concourse.

“It was the environment,” Barnett said. “It was seeing the (foot) traffic… It was the sense of community here. It was like the hashtag at the (Crosstown) dentist office, ‘Better Together’.

“And everything we saw we immediately were like, ‘We need to be here.’”

The Concourse already hosts such businesses as Gloss Nail Bar, Cheryl Pesce: The Lifestyle Store, FedEx Office, AT&T retail store and Madison Pharmacy.

“We thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could add a salon to the mix,” Richardson said. “…From a vision perspective, it was a great alignment.”

Crosstown Concourse has only about 6,500 square feet of retail space left to lease and 20,000 square feet of office space available.

Tenants now occupy 98% of Crosstown Concourse, Richardson said.

1350 CONCOURSE AVE • MEMPHIS, TN • 38104 • 901.203.8300