Hair Salon Squeaks By At Homewood Board Meeting

Homewood trustees found themselves between a new business and a hard place—welcome a 35th salon to town, or turn down a new addition to the business community?

trustees found themselves in a quandary during the July 24 board meeting. The topic at hand: whether or not to allow another hair salon to open up shop in downtown Homewood.

The dilemma is unusual for the typically business-friendly village, but an amendment passed in April of this year forced them to give the item extra thought. The amendment requires special use permits for certain businesses coming into the central business district. The need for a permit is intended to give the village more control over the economic diversity of the downtown area. Hair salons, in particular, are one type of business that the permit is trying to regulate.

Despite the odds against her, Shantel Houston applied for a special use permit to open Heavenly Hands Hair Studio in the 300-square-foot location to the rear of Burrito Express. The location, at 2010 Elm, was previously a hair salon, and a travel agency before that.

There was much discussion at a previous plan commission meeting, over the need for a business like Heavenly Hands, according to Homewood Community Development Director Paula Wallrich. The commission ultimately arrived at a vote of three to two, in favor of the salon. Their biggest concern, Wallrich said, was for the other 34 hair salons in the village, especially the 15 salons in the central business district alone. Wallrich says the commission was swayed in Houston’s favor after learning that 40 percent of her business is in restorative hair care—treatments for individuals who, for one reason or another, are losing their hair.

Trustee Barbara Dawkins was not enthused about the new salon. She said she wants to see retail come into the downtown area.

“We made this a special use for a reason … we have an overabundance of hair salons in the downtown area,” Dawkins said.

Trustee Lisa Purcell felt the board should be more discriminating in its choices for the location.

“We need to be picky. Do we just want to see a space filled? Or do we want to see the best use for that space?”

Trustee Anne Colton said she agrees with Dawkin’s and Purcell’s frustration in seeing another hair salon in town, but that wasn’t enough to affect her voting.

“I don’t disagree with what I’m hearing from Trustee Dawkins (and Purcell) … I’m a big believer in economic diversity,” Colton said. “It’s more of a philosophical issue for me. We live in a capitalistic democracy and it’s about letting the market place do what the market place does. As a board, I don’t know if it’s our job to pick who’s going to stay or who’s going to go. It’s a slippery slope that we’re going to be on because what’s that going to stop from turning into cronyism?”

Trustee Jay Heiferman quickly announced his support for the item during his time to talk. Between the service offered and the “off-the-main-drag” location, Heiferman says he does not think this is a situation dealing with prime real estate.

Trustee Ray Robertson agrees.

“If this was at the corner of Ridge and Dixie … I would not be supporting it. “I think the location has to be considered … I don’t even know what else would go in a space like that.”

Trustee Tom Kataras was absent for voting.

The board's final decision was three to two, in favor of approving the special use permit.

Linda July 29, 2012 at 02:02 AM
We probably have just as many restaurants, I never see anyone complain as a matter of fact it's two new resturants opening soon Chipotle and the Cottage. There is approximately 23 restaurants from 175th and Halsted to 183rd and Halsted. Salons are just as diverse as restaurants not all have the same offerings or atmosphere it's really a personal preference, people like choices. While I will admit there are a lot of salons here, Salons continue to thrive despite the economy...stylist jobs aren't being outsourced.
Linda July 29, 2012 at 10:42 AM
No, actually didn't include those or the one inside of jewels not to mention we had a few resturants to close, Arbys, Quiznos, and the restruant on the corner of 175 and halsted that has been several different restraunts. Very rarely have I seen a closed salon in Homewood I've seen them relocate to a different part of Homewood but not close.
Ryan Fitzpatrick July 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Ernie Souchak July 29, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The sales tax revenue from all these salons probably help the Homewood budget immensely, so we should be happy for that. Oh wait. I forgot that this is mostly a cash business. Sorry.
jt August 01, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Diversity is a mainstay of any economic base and the over abundance of one type of commodity is not healthy to the business base of a community nor the stability of those businesses competing for that customer. Simple economic rules apply here. .Too many same service business cant remain stable enough to be successful and at some point they all suffer greatly by too much competition for a limited client base. Community development planning is crucial in keeping all businesses healthy to have that community thrive.If they all suffer or fail so does the community


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