Finding a strong local business to support in the Highlands is not that difficult. Running one is a completely different story. The ladies behind the Highlands salon, Atomic House of Hair at 2201 Grinstead Drive, understand that the Highlands neighborhood is all about being local, but success doesn’t just happen because of your location. Owning and operating a local business is difficult and rewarding at the same time, but as long as you share the same “local first” sentiment as most residents and business owners in the area, your experience will be enhanced.
Melissa Chandler and Jessie Starks have been friends for most of their lives. Growing up in Paducah together, these two have shared quite a bit. Now in Louisville they share responsibilities and ownership in a hot Louisville salon located in the Cherokee Triangle area of the Highlands. The building they occupy on Grinstead Drive has been home to several businesses over the years, but the amazing thing is that you can still tell what it was originally intended for just by looking at it. The fact that the building once was a garage / gas station actually played into Jessie and Melissa’s decision to take it over and create their Highlands salon there.
(Above photo from U of L Photo Archives)
“The only thing my family was into was cars,” said Starks, “I’ve driven hot rods and owned hot rods and built hot rods, and it just seemed like a no brainer to put my business in a garage.”
There were a lot of renovations to be done to the building before they moved in including painting, plumbing, flooring, and just overall decorating. Jessie and Melissa were both involved in transforming the space. Now the former garage has style and it presents very well as a Highlands salon.
On any given day you will see both owners in the salon working hard, as they serve in different roles. Melissa runs the front of the house as receptionist, while handling the business operations, accounting, and marketing. As co-owner, Jessie is also the primary stylist at Atomic House of Hair. She handles the “art end of things” from decorating the salon to cuts, colors, highlights, low lights and everything in between. The two long time friends mentioned that it’s hard work to maintain a friendship while running a business together, but that it’s well worth it at the end of the day. In addition to Jessie, there is another full time stylist as well as a nail tech offering manicures and pedicures. Atomic House of Hair also offers bridal services.
“If you’re a bride, this is where you want to come to get your hair and nails done,” according to Chandler. “We will shut the salon down, bring in brunch, bring in mimosas, and pamper you so that you don’t have to worry about anything but being beautiful on your wedding day.”
View scenes from my interview in the video above
Melissa and Jessie have a very healthy outlook on their industry and therefore they do not offer services like perms and relaxers that contain harsh chemicals and produce heavy smells. Atomic House of Hair exclusively uses a product line that is ecologically friendly and made by a company that is environmentally conscious. Davines produces shampoos, conditioners, serums, and masks that contain high percentages of ingredients natural derived, and ready-biodegradable, minimizing their environmental impact while also combining sustainability and high-performance results.
Happy clients are the proof that what these ladies are doing is working. The atmosphere and energy in the salon when I was there showed me that there are many more reasons why Atomic House of Hair will be around for years to come. To make an appointment for hair or nail services in the Highlands, call 502-489-4098 and the ladies at Atomic House of Hair would love to take care of you!
Thinking about moving to Louisville or relocating within Louisville? I would love to speak with you about your next home – 502-509-9278 – firstname.lastname@example.org