Distinctly Downtown: Apotheclaire – An environmentally-friendly twist to beauty care

Walking into Apotheclaire is literally a breath of fresh air –the new eco-responsible salon in Downtown Akron makes natural, organic and chemically-reduced alternatives their priority.

Unlike most salons, Apotheclaire recycles 98 percent of their waste, such as color leftovers, vinyl gloves, product packaging and hair. Apotheclaire is part of the Green Circle Salons, which has warehouses that use recycled hair to make oil booms. The oil booms are used to clean up oil spills, and can be reused several times, unlike synthetic booms.

The idea of Apotheclaire began with owner Claire White, who has a long history of being hypersensitive to many chemicals and fragrances. The name Apotheclaire was inspired by the word “apothecary,” which in Latin means shopkeeper, creatively combined with Claire’s name.

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of rash or sneeze or actually be in the hospital,” White said. “It’s something I’ve had to deal with my entire life, and I’ve had to learn how to accommodate my personal environment for a long time.”

White told stories of the struggles she would go through when getting a haircut. The hair salons would have to make sure there were no chemical products lying around or any fragrances lingering in the air.

White said there are others like her; however, her main goal is to make sure that Apotheclaire provides the best service in the nicest environment possible, regardless of if a customer has the intention of being toxin-free.

“We try to keep the environment clean enough and comfortable enough that if you come in here for a service, you’re going to leave here feeling good,” White said.

In addition, Apotheclaire is also a retail shop that sells a variety of natural and organic beauty, skin, hair, personal and home care products.

One of White’s favorite products that she sells are wool dryer balls. These dryer balls are an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners, which have harmful chemicals and perfumes that coat clothing. In contrast, the dryer balls have no chemicals and can be used over and over again.

White said the intention she has for Apotheclaire is to have a series of shops in one place. In addition to the services and products Apotheclaire already provides, Claire hopes that if there are opportunities for the salon to grow, she will be able to put them all under the same roof.

Apotheclaire is located on 70 E. Mill Street in Akron, on the ground floor of Greystone Hall. Salon hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m., Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about Apotheclaire, visit their website at www.Apotheclaire.com and check out their Instagram account @Apotheclaire.

By: Zaina Salem
DAP communications intern

 

Distinctly Downtown: Tammy O’s Hair Salon

Tammy O’s Hair Salon exceeds typical salon and barber shop expectations and provides a sense of community to its customers, contributing to Downtown Akron life.

The Shoppestammy-o-for-constant-contact at Akron Centre offer a wide range of shopping and dining options. This shopping center adds to the lively, entertaining atmosphere of Downtown Akron. Well-known establishments such as Angel Falls Coffee, as well as original specialty shops like NOTO, are centered in this building, drawing in local workers and shoppers in the Akron area.

A place of its own—famous for its friendly employees and wide variety of offered salon and spa services, Tammy O’s, owned and operated by Tammy O’Strander, attracts men and women of all ages and ethnicities to the salon. The salon specializes in nails, massages, hair coloring and styling, as well as cuts and waxes, and cosmetology.

O’Strander is working in her fifteenth year at the franchise in the Shoppes at Akron Centre. She is a licensed barber, who started a career at this salon as an employee in her youth. She then took over the shop when the previous owner left and has run the salon ever since his departure. Although O’Strander began as a men’s barber, she expanded the salon to offer far more services, for both men and women.

O’Strander started in the business at a young age. She enjoyed cutting hair and considered it her hobby. She made the initiative to turn it into a career after working at a salon in Beachwood, Ohio, where her co-workers and employers taught her more than she imagined she could learn. O’Strander states that was when she fell in love with her hobby, and it developed into her career.

O’Strander took these life-changing lessons and applied them when she started running Tammy O’s Salon.

As the owner, O’Strander refuses to operate a cookie-cutter hair salon and spa; she wants both her employees and customers to get the most out of her knowledge and services. She aspires to motivate and teach so that her employees receive that same experience she gained at her first hair salon job. O’Strander says she focuses strongly on growth.

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Tammy O’s stylists and spa specialists.

Working alongside O’Strander at Tammy O’s is Vicki Martin, the massage therapist and shoe shiner. She began working there in 2003. She specializes in therapeutic and deep tissue massaging. Also, Cindi Rains is the nail technician, an employee of over ten years.

Recently, Robin Jones, a friend of O’Strander’s since 1995, joined the team, focusing on cosmetology at the salon. Jones was a licensed barber in Maryland, specializing in hair replacement, where she previously worked. Joining O’Strander’s salon, Jones brings a background of culture and diversity in regards to hair styling, as her passion and talent centers around styling and re-growing hair of people with mixed ethnicities. As a woman of mixed backgrounds herself, Jones sees “this business [as] artistry.” She plans to incorporate more diversity in the salon’s services, hoping to attract more female customers and customers with diverse backgrounds.

Dedicated workers at Tammy O's gather at the spa.

Dedicated workers at Tammy O’s gather at the spa.

For O’Strander and her co-workers, a significant part of their success is due to their location. They are a part of downtown city life; the Shoppes at Akron Centre is located in the heart of the city. She describes it as “a perfect place to be.” The city life draws in a lot of excitement and entertainment, and O’Strander mentions that she sees her salon as a part of it all. “I see [customers] on a daily basis because they work in this building or they [frequently visit],” she says, “They’re more like friends than clients.”

Employees in the downtown area, along with shoppers and browsers, see Tammy O’s and are intrigued by its welcoming appearance and many spa services. O’Strander says that her business is always growing because the people who have used her services before continuously return, while regularly new customers visit. This salon is a great place for students at the University of Akron and workers downtown because of the convenience of location and short amount of time it takes to get there.

What used to be a barber shop transformed into a full-package “head-to-toe” service salon and spa. O’Strander puts her passion and skills into her business, offering expert hair and other services, as well as a friendly, inviting environment where the workers know each customer by name. In 2010 and 2011, Tammy O’s was named the Akron Beacon Journal’s Best Barber and in both those years and in 2012, named Beacon’s Best Spa and Salon. Tammy O’s is a great place to get pampered or a haircut—they provide care and talent that is hard to find elsewhere.

For more information about Tammy O’s Hair Salon, visit their web page on our site, give them a call at 330-253-2300, or stop in at 50 S Main St, Suite 111. When visiting the salon, remember that Tammy O’s has a Do Downtown card member promotion of 10% off any service.

By Spencer Skolnick, Downtown Akron Partnership Intern