Mention the late Fred Heintz Jr. at a locally-owned salon and it’s likely someone will remember the man who became one of Concord’s most well-known hairdressers in the 1950s.
Heintz Hair Styling Salon was established in downtown Concord in 1955 at 14 W. Depot Street (now Cabarrus Avenue). Heintz Jr. a few years later opened a second salon around the corner at The Hotel Concord.
In the early 1960s, the salon relocated to 624 Church St. and eventually was renamed Heintz Hair Design, which is now run by Fred Heintz III and his son, Fred Heintz IV.
Heintz Jr. and longtime co-worker, Albert Newton, made quite a name for themselves as beauty experts. They garnered dozens of loyal patrons, who still visit the relocated salon.
After returning from the Korean War in the early 1950s, Heintz Jr. went to beauty school part-time while working at Cannon Mills. When he graduated, he worked long hours nearly every day of his life, and slowly faded out of the business before dying of cancer in 1991 at 61.
Newton died in late January.
At the peak of business, Heintz Jr. and his 13 hairdressers would serve up to 55 people per day, five days per week. During a typical 12-hour day, Heintz Jr. would work at the salon, attend trade shows to promote new products and attend after-parties, for which he was paid to mingle and entertain the crowd.
Heintz Jr. and his wife, Joyce, raised two boys and two girls.
Heintz III described his father as a genuine, fun guy and a big joker with a strong work ethic. He was a master of 50s hairstyles, such as those worn by Doris Day and Tina Louise, who played Ginger in “Gilligan’s Island.”
The shop still has a historic feel, from the shiny, black-and-white checkerboard tile floors, wood paneling and lavender-colored walls to the barber chairs, reclining hood hair dryers and other equipment from the 1960s.
“He loved his customers like they were family and that personality, combined with his talent, helped make him a household name,” said Heintz III.
Heintz III, like his dad, is a family man. He has been married 24 years to his wife, Macala, who helped raise their daughter and four sons. The two met at the shop while Heintz III was in his prime, he said. Macala now does nails at the salon.
Heintz III, who passed down a full mane of long curls to his son, said his dad had the same haircut.
“I’ve got a picture of him when he was 13 and he was combing it all straight back and he wore it like that, nice and short – nothing like the way we wear ours.”
Heintz III attended college, but after his first year he decided it wasn’t for him.
“My dad talked to me and asked me if I’d be interested in doing hair,” he said. “He described it to me, said the money was good and that you get to meet a lot of pretty women.”
After he went to cosmetology school, he began to learn about the business from his dad. Heintz IV also tried college for a year but ultimately chose cosmetology school and now works part time at the family business.
“Their story is inspirational to me,” Heintz IV said. “I was always taught to take a different look at things. Everybody would joke about (their career choice) with me all through high school, but I always thought it was great.
“I’d tell people, ‘Yeah, man, my dad’s got five kids and he’s doing good taking care of us. And guess what he does? He cut’s hair. ... I think it’s awesome.’”
Heintz IV is too young to remember his grandfather but he has fond memories of growing up around the family business.
“As kids ... we’ve always been up here and we’ve always had a good time,” Heintz IV said. “To keep it going for two generations is cool, but to have even another generation come out of me is even cooler.”
The spacious split-level salon on Church Street was a launch pad for several area stylists. According to the Cabarrus County Census, nearly 40 salons operated in the county in 2010.
“It’s been a machine for putting people in business and learning the trade,” Heintz III said. “My dad really made a mark here in hairdressing. He spread his business out with everybody, he helped people build their businesses by giving some of his business to them. His customers were so loyal to him and they’re still loyal to this place. And, sometimes, when we start talking about him, they’ll tear up.”
Shirley Moose, now 65, cut hair at a Belk salon in downtown Concord before going to work with Heintz Jr. for 12 years. She was one of the hair dressers working when businesses was booming.
Now the owner of Changes Styling Salon, also on Church Street, she said she made a point to run her salon they way Heintz Jr. ran his.
Moose said he was less like a boss and more like a shepherd, whose leadership qualities rubbed off.
“You never lost your amazement because he was able to use his professionalism to do what he did while we were up there striving, working hard to achieve the same result,” Moose said. “But if you needed to know anything, the knowledge was there in all directions: color, cuts and the ability to handle a business the way he did. He had a cool way of handling the situation with all of us ... it was just always easy. Even when we left, he was so gracious to us.”
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less