American Salon March 2012 : Page 56

BIG FISH, SMALL POND Verde Salon Verde Salon 4 P Colling owell Lane s wo 856/85 8-0911 od, NJ 08108 • verd esalon.c om In every small town across America, there’s at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Collingswood, NJ, (population 13,926) has Verde Salon. State Street may be “that great street” if you’re in Chicago, but when you’re in Collingswood, NJ, that honor belongs to Haddon Avenue, named a “Top Ten Great Street” by the American Planning Association in 2009. Mature shade trees and period architecture blend with smart-growth projects, like the transit center that links the town to New Jersey’s commuter rail system, creating an ideal balance between old and new. “We are a nice re ection of where Collingswood is headed,” says Verde Salon owner Kevin Gatto. Verde Salon, just off Haddon Avenue in the heart of downtown, is committed to staying green and fashion-forward while delivering an experience that harkens back to a time when service was king. “We call it the ‘green carpet experience,’” Gatto says, noting that even on the busiest days, clients comment on the aura of calm in the 1,350-square-foot salon and day spa. “We want them to have that experience of complete relaxation for the entire visit,” he explains. A hot towel treatment with essential oils is part of every service. The minimalist decor, polished concrete oors and white walls with green accents were designed to project calm in a way that Gatto describes as elegant and pretty, but gender-neutral. Verde uses only environmentally friendly products and practices, something Gatto says was part of the plan from the beginning. “We choose things that won’t be hard on our guests or our staff,” he says, adding that the policy extends not just to hair and nail products, but also to the paint on the walls and cleaning supplies. Later this spring, when Collingswood residents and businesses will be offered a choice of options for the source of their electrical service, Gatto says Verde will opt for clean wind power. Verde has become successful despite opening at a time—October of 2007—that was less than friendly to start-ups. “Those rst two years were pretty brutal,” Gatto says. “I think any small-business owner can relate to that.” He took action, rst by banning talk of bad economic news in the salon, and second by instituting a COD-only policy for purchasing. “If we couldn’t pay for it, we didn’t get it,” he says. His ties to the community—he started his career at Rizzieri Salon and Spa in nearby Marlton, NJ, owned by well-known editorial stylist and Aveda educator Frank Rizzieri—helped build the business, but Gatto credits his team for making Verde a success. “Their dedication to our ‘clients rst’ philosophy has enabled Verde to survive and thrive,” he says. ✂ —Karen Ford IN STOCK: Kaaral; Kevin.Murphy; Verde by Kevin Gatto 56 American Salon March 2012 FROM TOP: The salon’s name telegraphs Verde’s commitment to green practices; dedicated nail stations; shampoo chairs are designed for comfort; the space features separate environments for salon and spa.

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