Escape Hair and Skin Studio on South Tryon Street in South End offers a calmsetting. Jazz plays in the background and a colorful fish tank separates the lobby from the salon chairs.
“I wanted the studio, like the name, to invoke peacefulness and getting away from the outside world,” says Jim Tate, 52, owner.
Tate also wants his salon to be “an active member and supporter of the local community.” He participates in a variety of local partnerships and community giving opportunities.
“We proudly support the arts at our studio,” Tate says.
Every quarter, Escape showcases the works of local artists who are picked according to a unifying theme. Right now, there are six artists, each showcasing seven pieces focusing on nature.
Last quarter, the theme was pop art and there were 40 pieces from 20 artists on display. All of the artwork is for sale and the salon also hosts a reception for the artists each quarter during the South End Gallery Crawl.
The studio also partners with the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, located nearby, to provide haircuts and color for actors and staff members.
Tate has also organized book drives for a nearby school and partnered with the store next door to pass out 3,000 pink Mardi Gras necklaces during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
“I think clients enjoy my social activism,” Tate says. “They appreciate the opportunity to participate in something that helps the community.”
Tate moved his annual Toys for Tots party, that he and his partner, Dwayne Brodey, used to host in their home, to the salon.
“I wanted a bigger space to house all the toys,” Tate says, “and I wanted to get more clients involved.”
He launches the gift-giving season each year with a Toys for Tots party at the salon the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He invites all of his clients and more than 150 show up, unwrapped toys in hand, to fill the lobby with gifts for underprivileged children. Also in attendance are two uniformed Marines, who had to make three separate trips to the salon last year to pick up toys because there were so many.
“I think it’s important to help those who are less fortunate,” Tate says. “Especially children.”
Katya Lezin is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Do you have a story idea for Katya? Email her at email@example.com.
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