Our Town

Tucson, AZ, is often referred to as The Sunshine Factory because the sun is visible nearly every day of the year. Nicole Palmieri found four salons that leave clients feeling sunny even inside.


1. Robert Markley Salon Spa


"From the moment guests walk through the door they are greeted not only by our polished staff, but also by the intoxicating aromas," Robert Markley says of his eponymous salon. "The guest experience continues at home with hand-written thank you notes and follow-up calls." The salon, which opened its doors in September 2007, provides its staff with ongoing education on fashion trends and technical skills. Markley says staying current is crucial to satisfying the needs of the salon's chic, smart and professional clients, who tend to be conscious of their appearance, health and the environment. The salon gives back to the community by hosting monthly events to benefit local nonprofit organizations. "For one evening each month, we dedicate our services to supporting a selected charity," Markley says. "We are able to secure new long-term guests and the charity receives a fabulous donation. It's a win-win situation for everyone."


In stock: Aveda


2. Belle Chic


Originally from Chicago, 25-year-old Stacey Epperson opened Belle Chic in January with the idea of bringing Chicago-chic style to the desert. "In Tucson, there are so many 'desert oasis' salons," Epperson says. "I wanted to do something different, so I chose to go with a clean, streamlined black and white theme, with splashes of aqua blue hues. It's very modern yet classic." Epperson, who is the mother of 11-month-old twin boys, has been in the salon business for 10 years, six of which she has been a hairstylist. Even though her salon has been open for less than a year, it has garnered the attention of many locals, who enjoy the hair and nail services, as well as massages and facials. Clients of the 2,630-square-foot salon also enjoy the various events it has hosted this year, including Mother Daughter Night in May, at which clients were taught how to style their hair, and Girls' Night Out in July. Says Epperson, "These events are fun and a great way to sell retail."


In stock: Redken, TIGI Bed Head


3. Gadabout SalonSpas


Currently celebrating 30 years in business, Gadabout SalonSpas strive each day to follow the mission statement of excellence by demonstrating exceptional customer service and providing staff members with advanced education and high-quality products. The salons also give back to the community's various organizations by making monetary donations and participating in hands-on events. There are six Gadabout locations in Tucson, including Gadabout Man, which is a day spa catering exclusively to men. The Gadabout locations range in size—from the smallest at 3,000 square feet to the largest at 6,500 square feet—and offer salon and spa services. "Each of our locations caters to a different demographic within the Tucson community," says Jana Westerbeke, president of Gadabout SalonSpas. "We have created spaces that reflect the local environment and include earthy colors that complement skin tones and make clients feel good."


In stock: Kérastase, Sebastian, G-Line


4. M Salon


"We treat our stylists like true team members at the salon," says Randy Greenberg, who co-owns M Salon with Michael Danielson. "We treat them with respect and believe that they should never stop learning. Education stops when you die, we say." While Greenberg runs the financial and marketing aspects of the salon, Danielson is a hairstylist as well as the salon's educator. In addition to hair services, the 2,600-square-foot full-service salon offers clients skin and nail treatments. "We are located in the desert, with a very dry climate, so everything needs to be hydrated—from skin to hair," Greenberg says. The Elite Club 5th Avenue Redken Salon, which is located at the base of the Catalina foothills, can best be described as open, spacious and urban. "It is reminiscent of a SoHo loft," Greenberg says. "It's a comfortable atmosphere here and we try to focus on treating each client as if he or she is our only one."


In stock: Redken, Pureology, CND, OPI