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I Was Born in a Small Town

Readers often tell us that one of their favorite columns is "Big Fish, Small Pond," which is our way of recognizing the achievements of small salons all across the country. Let's face it, it's usually the big, beautiful salons in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York or Miami that get all the press. The truth is, it's salons like the ones we feature in "Big Fish" that are the lifeblood of this industry. A few months ago I went back East to visit my mother, who still lives in Warren, OH, the town I grew up in. Warren is about as small-town as you can get. The population for you "Big Fish" fans is 46,832. Located about 14 miles from Youngstown and 15 miles from the Pennsylvania border, Warren gained a modicum of fame recently when it was reported that Rex Lee, who plays Ari Gold's put-upon assistant Lloyd in HBO's Entourage, hails from Warren.

Brett Vinovich
Brett Vinovich

When I was growing up in Warren, it was known for high school football (go Raiders!), Halsey Taylor drinking fountains (in 1912 Halsey W. Taylor developed the Puritan Sanitary Fountain and began producing it at the original manufacturing site in Warren) and, of course, General Motors, which is now home to Delphi Automotive Systems. Things have changed a lot in Warren since I left to go to college in San Diego back in the dim ages (you'll notice I didn't say dark ages—I'm not that old yet). General Motors, where my dad worked for 30 years, pulled out. Halsey Taylor went out of business. Now Delphi is farming out their jobs to India. At least you can't outsource a perm, a head of highlights or a manicure. Maybe that's why they say the beauty industry is recession-proof.

My mom gets her hair done at Scruples Hair and Tanning in Warren by a terrific stylist named JoAnn Loch, who went to elementary school with me. My mom is 87 years old, and her weekly wash-and-set with JoAnn is the highlight of her week. By the way, my mom still colors her hair even though she thinks no one knows. Well, I guess the 122,951 of you who subscribe to this magazine know now.

FROM LEFT: Ashley Lokash, Gina Cannell, Fran Ruberto, John Paul DeJoria, Melenie Kush and Jennifer Ulp of The Lanai Salon in Warren, OH
FROM LEFT: Ashley Lokash, Gina Cannell, Fran Ruberto, John Paul DeJoria, Melenie Kush and Jennifer Ulp of The Lanai Salon in Warren, OH

On one of my trips back home I ran into Fran Ruberto, co-owner of The Lanai Salon—I went to high school with her cousin, Lorainne Sykes. Fran and her coworkers met John Paul DeJoria, CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, at an event the company held for Focus and Signature salons in Ohio and West Virginia. They were thrilled to meet him and sent me a photo. If there's one thing I remember about Warren, it's the sense of love, friendship and well-being I had there growing up. I hope this shout-out helps repay the debt I owe. —Brett Vinovich, publisher, bvinovich@questex.com

What Happens in Vegas

American Salon's very own Kim Vo will be on Main Stage at IBS Las Vegas June 28 to 30. What could be better than mixing a little business with pleasure, checking out new products from more than 200 hair and nail care companies and seeing top-notch hairdressers in action. Learn all about the art of dry-cutting with Mike Karg or catch "Designing a Diva: The Creation of Zumanity" with Roger Stricker of Cirque du Soleil. To order tickets, call 800/496-9861 or visit ibslasvegas.com.

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About the Author

Brett Vinovich

Brett Vinovich