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Windsor concept salon debuts with a pop

Thursday, December 02, 2010

By Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. - Forced into making a career-defining decision when their former hair salon closed down, three local stylists managed to open a new concept salon in less than eight weeks.

Handling virtually all of the extensive renovations themselves, with the aid of family, Tracy Paterson, Charles Carrico and Carla Homenick have opened Pop Hair Gallery on Erie Street with an expansive second floor gallery, showcasing local artists.

Paterson and Homenick are both artists and fully cognizant of the relative lack of casual gallery space for local artists.

"We felt it was a great spot to showcase local artists in a more intimate, casual setting rather than just a place where you simply walk past the artwork," said Paterson.

With textured hardwood floors, high white industrial-style ceilings and an open concept design, the salon and gallery are a perfect complement to the vibrant, colourful artwork displayed on the walls.

Sandi Wheaton, a local artist who has work displayed in the gallery, said "it's an amazing space and it has the feel of a real gallery not just another business with art on the walls.

"They're so creative and it shows with everything they've done," said Wheaton of the business owners.

"When you see something like this, it legitimizes the artwork and gives you a great feeling," she said. "They're very passionate about the arts community and what they've done is wonderful."

And it all come together very quickly for the three friends who have worked together for almost 10 years.

"When we realized that our workplace was closing, we had a decision to make and we all decided we weren't finished working with each other because we'd had so much fun," said Homenick, who started painting while enrolled in the arts program at Walkerville Collegiate. "We could have separated and been miserable somewhere else so we decided to take a chance.

"And for me, having some of my own work on the walls have given me more of a reason to want to paint," said Homenick.

A few steps above Erie Street, the salon fits in a neighbourhood which is changing and evolving while the upper gallery has floor to ceiling windows with a perfect view of the Renaissance Center.

"It's been fun trying to put it altogether in eight weeks," said Carrico, who is also a photographer and plans to exhibit some artwork in a future show. "Normally, people tell you to put together a business plan before going out on your own so I guess we're the exception to the norm.

"It's been a long, fast journey but well worth the effort," he added.

So far, numerous clients have followed the trio from their previous salon and there's been a steady stream of walk-ins by people curious about the new addition to the street.

"The hardest part was wondering how quickly business would pick up and there were nights before we opened when I didn't sleep," said Paterson. "But once we opened the doors, the fears seemed to melt away and we're back having fun again."

And they have an unabashed fan in Amy Friend, another artist with works in the gallery.

"It's a great example of a creative business strategy," said Friend. "Each time the work is installed it transforms the space while offering Pop's clientele fresh visuals."

"And they're exposing local art to people who otherwise wouldn't see it," said Friend.

Beginning Dec. 31 and running until the end of January, the trio are planning what they're calling a Virgin Show, showcasing the work of artists who have never exhibited in a show before.

They've created a Facebook page to keep in touch with local artists and also have a web-site at pophairgallery.com.

Copyright (c) The Windsor Star, 2010