Saying goodbye to a hair salon that was a cut above

When Kostas Melissaris moved here in the '60s, the idea of men and women going to one hair salon and being charged high prices was almost shocking.

Melissaris then decided to open his own salon, eventually earning clients ranging from banking pioneer Hugh McColl Jr. to pro golfer Arnold Palmer to heavy metal band Motley Crue.

The native of Greece eventually opened seven salons in the city, but the era of Melissaris-owned salons came to an end earlier this month when he officially closed the last one at Founders Hall.

Melissaris, now 74, began as a 13-year-old apprentice looking to earn a little money in war-ravaged Greece. After opening a successful salon across from the American Embassy in Athens, he then moved to Jackson, Miss., with his future wife. There, he started unisex salons and charged more than the traditional $1 for male cuts and $2.50 for females.

He eventually moved to Charlotte. He counts actress Brooke Shields, Richard Nixon and Luciano Pavarotti as former clients, as well as many former city leaders. He's cut the hair of everyone from bankers to big-haired rock stars.

“I remember he came back (after cutting the members of Motley Crue's hair) and said, ‘I've never used as much product in my life,'” said daughter Christina Elia.