Michael Stefan Hair Salon, Downtown Willoughby, Ohio

When did the Salon open?

Our doors opened July 5, 1995.

What inspired you to open it?

It happened very much as a natural progression. It was time to settle down after working in Dallas and Las Vegas and more recently in Mentor. I wanted a place to call home and found it here.

How did you strive to give your Salon an edge?

I endeavored to give it a personality and edge by creating a multi functional space. The salon (or great room) does not have a single dimension. It blends a comfortable environment that is service oriented yet visually interactive. Varying materials such as brick, rafters, tin molding, plants and easels combine to make a beautiful space for our stylists and clients to feel comfortable in.

What gave you the idea to make it an Art Gallery as well?

Every hair salon I have ever been in either had empty walls or really bad hair posters. Why not use the walls for visual enjoyment? The pairing seemed natural. Hair is a form of sculpting; why not consider it an art as well? Being connected to our community and showing local artists’ work is also a valuable contribution to downtown Willoughby.

Why did you choose this industry?

It has been a family passion and profession. Seemed natural to go into to it myself.

Any funny stories about when you were trying to get the salon started?

The city of Willoughby thought that we were just young kids and could never finish the rehab let alone open a successful salon. At one point they they would not even give us a work permit! We proved them wrong, we did make it happen and still are going strong!

Why in Willoughby?

While we had an existing clientele in the Mentor area, we liked downtown Willoughby’s small town flavor and decided this area was more appealing then Mentor. The salon was in close enough proximity to Mentor, we felt if we built it, they would come.

What did you like about this building? The architecture? The old feel of it?

I am a fan of anything with a history. Most of today’s buildings don’t seem to have the same craftsmanship and details of our bygone years. Renovation and restoration also support my feelings of being environmentally conscious.