New owners update the salon to make it more inviting for younger people and men

BARBARA SHERMAN - New daughter-and-mother owners of the Plaza Hair Center, Rebecca Walters Traweek (left) and Lorie Walters, stand at the new reception desk during the salon's grand opening while Traweek's daughter Chloe, 8, peeks around the corner.The Plaza Hair Center has a new look and new owners, and it will soon have a new name, Plaza Hair & Spa.

On April 1, Lorie Walters and her daughter Rebecca Walters Traweek took over the longtime business in the Plaza Shopping Center that has hundreds of loyal clients from King City and beyond.

First to go were the pink paint color and artificial flowers to be replaced over several weeks with a sleek, modern, black/white/gray color scheme; a wall blocking off the shampoo bowls was removed, and the revamped salon also has a new floor, new cabinets and chairs, and hairstyling-related accessories on the walls.

"Just about everything is new is except the hair dryers, and four of the stylists' chairs were newer so we didn't replace them," Walters said. "We had fun picking out the accessories."

The entry now features more seating, and Traweek, who does hair, skin and nails, has a newly walled off area in which to work.

The mother and daughter, who are first-time salon owners, recently took a break from putting the final touches on the salon to sit down to talk about the experience.

Walters started off by joking that she told Traweek to go to beauty school at age 18, but Traweek went into hotel management for six years instead. "Then I went to beauty school," said Traweek, who in addition to doing hair and nails does micro-dermabrasion and eyelash extensions.

Meanwhile, Walters initially was a stay-at-home mom and became a realtor before going to college for five years and then working for the state of Oregon/Multnomah County for 16 years in senior and disabled services.

"I mainly worked with the disabled and drug-addicted people until I retired five years ago," Walters said.

They heard about the salon being for sale from a friend named Delores, who gets her hair done by now former-salon owner Sharon Hartley, who had put the word out that she wanted to sell after purchasing the salon years ago from the previous owner, Jan Hardenburger.

"We came here and met with Sharon, and we just loved it here," Traweek said. "We talked about it and thought we could do it together. I'm the artistic, creative type…" and Walters added, "And I'm detail-oriented and the management type – she's left brain, and I'm right brain."

Traweek also is busy with three young children ages 13, 10 and 8, and she teaches at a local beauty college.

"I've redesigned a salon before, and in one of my first ones, the owner let me re-do the whole thing, including paint and furniture," Traweek said. "Part of the concept here is that it would still feel like home."

BARBARA SHERMAN - The line-up of the soon-to-be-renamed Plaza Hair & Spa 'crew' includes (from left) co-owner Rebecca Walters Traweek, Debbie, Maurine, Sharon, Sharon, Diane, Kathy, co-owner Lorie Walters and Emily.They estimate that 85 to 95 percent of the clientele are women, "but we want to get younger people and more men in here too," said Walters, and Traweek added, "People my age are into how a salon looks."

One of Walter's contributions was streamlining the look of the salon. "I don't do clutter," she said.

Traweek explained, "Gray, black and white are my three favorite colors," and Walters added, "And beauty supply merchandise comes in black."

Traweek pointed out that suppliers charge more if chairs and other items are ordered in any color other than black, "and black is my all-time favorite color. I just wanted it to be sleek."

The floor took days of work, starting with stripping it down to the concrete before the new product was applied.

"We rented a machine, and it took eight hours to strip the floor," Traweek said. "I did my research. We wanted longevity. We use some pretty harsh chemicals."

Walters pointed out that no one would guarantee that stains would not show on their floor except for the vendor they used. Professionals did the work, starting with a black-colored layer and then pouring gray color on top of it and blowing air over that to create the swirled look. The final step was putting epoxy over the top so it would not be slippery.

"It was a little scary," Traweek said. "What if the floor didn't come out the way we wanted? We didn't know how people would react."

Walters added, "Most people have loved it. Everyone's been pretty complimentary."

Now that the remodeling is all done, and their May 7 grand opening is over, they can both relax a little.

"I love what I do, but I'm happy this process is over and I will get my weekends and evenings back," Traweek said.

The salon is located at 15525 S.W. 116th Ave., at the north end of the Plaza Shopping Center; for more information, call 503-639-7034.

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