GRAND BLANC TWP. — From buns to bobs, 13 students and instructors from L&L Dance Studio called upon the newly opened Pure Bliss Salon and Spa to chop off their long locks to donate to those suffering from hair loss.
L&L Dance owner Kara Meier had always wanted to donate her hair, but was never able to get it to grow long enough to meet the 8 inch minimum most organizations require until recently.
With her hair finally long enough, Meier said she got the idea to ask her students and instructors if they wanted to donate their hair to the Hair Loss for Children foundation after hearing her student Abby Keyes, 6, also voice her plans to donate her hair.
“After recital a lot of the girls like to cut their hair for the summer months,” Meier said. “So I talked with Pure Bliss and all of their stylists came together and really helped make this happen.”
The decision to participate was easy for Melissa Withey and Christi Marshall, who own Pure Bliss along with their husbands Randy Withey and Trent Marshall.
“It’s not a question of should you do it,” said Melissa Withey, stating the staff all jumped at the opportunity to be involved and offer their services for free. “This is something that people should do.”
Pure Bliss was established in October after the large area salon and spa Melissa worked for closed its doors leaving 36 people without jobs.
“Flint couldn’t afford to have 36 people without jobs,” said Melissa, a stylist since 1995 who spent seven years as an educator traveling to various salons to help identify and fix problem areas.
Despite being seven months pregnant at the time the salon closed, Melissa and her husband, Randy, rented a temporary location in Linden to run Pure Bliss while they got to work on a business plan for a permanent home. As they developed their plan, Melissa kept Christi — her client of 10 years — up-to-date on the process, eventually asking Christi and Trent to be partners in the salon.
“Christi was really my voice of reason throughout this whole thing,” Melissa said. “My husband was just like ‘do it,’ but he didn’t really know all that went into opening a salon. So we were very blessed and fortunate to have Christi and Trent come on board.”
On June 9 after contacting local and state officials to help push the state licensing process through quickly, all four part- ners opened the doors to Pure Bliss’ new home at 5405 Gateway Center Dr., Flint.
“We had one day to move from the temporary location to here and every single (employee) showed up with their families, aunts, uncles, cousins to help us move. It was really amazing,” Withey said. “Now to see it all together and open it’s like, wow it is really here.”
The brand new 6,000 plus square foot facility with its trendy, yet elegant decor features 16 moveable hair stations, eight nail technician stations, six pedicure chairs, five body treatment rooms including a grand suite, a relaxation room and infra-red saunas in each of its men’s and women’s locker rooms. In addition to its salon and spa accommodations, Marshall said they also offer permanent, regular and air brush makeup services.
“When we were designing the salon we really wanted the capability to do many different things here such as classes or small parties” said Marshall.
As they plan for the future, Melissa said the key to their success will be education. Melissa said while they hold education classes for their stylists, they would like to become a teaching location for other stylists all over Michigan and the United States. In fact, Melissa said they have already opened the salon for an advanced cutting class for 15 stylists and are looking into hosting more classes for both stylists and clients as a way to give back to the community.
“We choose to stay in this area because we believe in Flint and the people,” Christi added. “We are going to do all we can to give back.”
As part of their effort to give back, Melissa said they will be giving points to clients for every visit they make to Pure Bliss, giving them a $50 gift certificate to the spa once they have accumulated enough points. Pure Bliss is also looking into doing more to help those with cancer beyond helping places such as L&L Dance in their desire to donate their hair.
“We have a great core group here that is willing to help out in any way they can,” Melissa said. “We are a family here and we want to help others.”
Although they have many plans for the future, Melissa said expansion is not one of them as she is happy with the business they created.
“It just feels good on a day when I walk in to see eight nail techs and 16 stylists busy and I have clients coming up and thanking me to give them a place to relax,” Melissa said.
Pure Bliss is open from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays. For services or information, call 810-820-6377 or visit www.pureblisssalonspa.com.