A TORQUAY hairdressing salon has celebrated a busy first year of trading with an anniversary party, proving a rare success story for an area of the town centre earmarked for regeneration and development by Torbay Council.
Portobello Salon on Tor Hill Road – close to the Town Hall car park set aside for a new 40,000 sq ft supermarket hoped to 'breathe new life into the town centre' – celebrated a 'fantastic' first year by inviting friends, family and regular clients to a special evening. Free treatments were on offer and guests were treated to free cakes, champagne and live music from talented local musician Owen Penrice.
For a gallery of pictures from the evening, please click here.
The Portobello Salon premises - décor, artwork, and name all inspired by London's Portobello Market – opened in February 2012 after almost five weeks of intensive building work. Its local young proprietors decided to open seven days a week to increase availability to the public.
"We wanted to break the mould with a fresh, unique and flexible approach and be available to everyone at a time convenient to the client," said Kingskerswell-raised co-manager Megan Kelly-Perry, "As far as we know, Portobello was one of the first salons in South Devon to be open seven days a week, and it's proven to be a big success. Takings have risen steadily as the year has gone on."
"It's gone really well and grown busier and busier throughout the year," added co-manager Melanie Chalk, "It started out as just the two of us, but since then we've appointed a another stylist, a nail technician, an apprentice and an assistant to help cope with demand."
After both meeting at Knowles Hill School, now Newton Abbot College, Megan went to study hairdressing and barbering at South Devon College while Melanie stayed to complete a hairdressing apprenticeship. They worked together at the same Torquay salon before deciding to branch out on their own and start their own business.
"It's the best decision I've ever made," said Melanie, "All the feedback from clients, our neighbouring shops and the local community has been so positive and we've really enjoying becoming an established salon with regular clientele. People come back time and time again because we actually listen to exactly what they want and even give hints and tips on how to maintain their salon look at home."
"We are overwhelmed by how well we've been received and it can only get busier," added Megan, "We are hoping to cope with high demand by developing the salon even further, and are willing to speak to prospective investors keen to share our vision for the future."