In every small town across America, there’s at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Morgantown, WV (population 30,293) has Nico Spalon.
Along the shores of the Monongahela River, close to the Pennsylvania border in the north-central part of West Virginia, sits Morgantown, a bustling small city known for its solid quality of life and strong economy. Mainly a mecca for college students—Morgantown is home to West Virginia University (WVU), the largest higher-education institution in the state—its friendly spirit and vitality extend well into the summer months, when school is out. Local businesses are booming, including the most popular beauty spot, Nico Spalon. Making The Morgantown Magazine’s 2013 Best of Morgantown list, Nico Spalon has an expansive menu of beauty services and experiences a high demand for Keratin Complex Express Blowouts and Natural Smoothing Treatments. “Given the climate of wild and wonderful West Virginia, our clients use these treatments as their first line of defense from frizz and humidity,” says Nicholas Romanoli, owner of Nico Spalon and artistic director of its product line, Nico Hair and Skin Care.
Romanoli opened the salon in 2004 in an old house located in Morgantown’s Cheat Lake neighborhood. The three-story space, totaling 3,000-square-feet, transformed into a full-service beauty establishment. What was once a dining area now serves as the salon’s reception station, and three bedrooms and the garage have been converted into styling chambers. The only room that remains intact is the kitchen, and guests will often treat it as their own, helping themselves to beverages and snacks. This fits perfectly with Romanoli’s goal to create a place without pretention where people feel completely relaxed and comfortable, and leave looking beautiful.
Staying true to beauty are Nico Spalon’s 13 stylists, including Romanoli, and at the heart of their job lie teamwork, education and the community. While all stylists do their part to stay current in their craft by attending classes and trade events, Nico Spalon’s staff participates in the salon’s ongoing charity cut-a-thon benefitting WVU Children’s Hospital; in four years, they’ve raised more than $14,000. Romanoli notes that beyond providing beautiful services in cuts, colors and more, giving back is important for keeping in-tune with the community. “Regardless of the salon’s success, we’ve never forgotten the town that got us to where we are today,” he says. ✂ —Jolene Turner
In stock: DevaCurl, Keratin Complex, Moroccanoil, Nico Hair and Skin Care, Schwarzkopf Professional OSIS+, Scruples, Wella Professionals
FROM TOP: Located on a hill, the salon overlooks the town and two acres of lush greenery; the cozy waiting and retail area; a styling room is flooded with light; a wash station nook provides peace and quiet.