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9/30/2004

Let their hair down

By Valerie Singleton
The Daily Times-Call

FREDERICK — Deborah Flanagan and Leslie Thatcher sat inside a home off Sixth and Elm streets Wednesday, where framed photographs and glass replicas of delectable fruits are set against pistachio-colored walls.

Outside, the morning’s frigid breezes lifted the scent of autumn and apple candles from the doorstep of 146 Sixth St. down the home’s walkway.

“This is my home away from home,” Thatcher said, pointing out plastic bouquets of purple and fuchsia flowers and antique furnishings.

Thatcher and Flanagan offered hot tea in pale green mugs and asked visitors to take seats in one of the home’s carefully decorated rooms.

And as gracious hosts of the home, both women hope that every person who enters leaves looking and feeling their best.

“The most complete visit to the (Green Pear Salon) is getting your hair done and going to get a facial,” said Flanagan, a professional hair stylist and owner of the new home-style salon.

“If you want to come by and have your hair done, come in and have a glass of lemonade or tea, or go sit out on the back,” Flanagan said.

As Frederick continues to grow, the Green Pear Salon melds old-fashioned community values and contemporary technology.

“We love being a part of this community,” Thatcher said. “I want that type of rapport with the community. I want to know my community. I want to know how I can help.”

The salon, located in Frederick’s old town district, allows visitors to escape the chaos of contemporary life while having their hair and skin pampered, Flanagan said.

“We wanted to be able to bring to the community a slow, more hometown atmosphere,” she said.

At the Green Pear, business is accompanied by casual conversation. Friendly neighbors, like longtime Frederick residents Don and Sarah Wallingford, might even stop by to pay a visit.

Residents of a nearby Frederick home for 20 years, the Wallingfords have seen businesses come and go and the area’s population boom.

The Frederick of 1984 had no more than 800 people, according to Don Wallingford.

The trend of slow growth and the presence of familiar businesses continued until the mid- to late 1990s, when the Tri-Town population began to boom, he said.

“I think the pace has changed as different people move in and bring a faster pace,” Don Wallingford said of his hometown while stopping by with his wife to greet his new neighbors.

He admired the refurbished building, which he helped rewire and repair several years ago.

“But this is nice,” he said.

Flanagan brought relics from garage sales, flea markets and her home to the salon. The origin of the Pear’s namesake even rests on the salon’s front counter.

“This just came to me in a very hard time for me in my life,” Flanagan said as she held a glass, pear candle.

The item was a gift to Flanagan from her former mother-in-law. Aside from the personal symbolism the pear holds, Flanagan said it represents more spiritual things: the fruit of life, renewal and an extension of a tree’s branches.

As Flanagan sees it, helping people be comfortable and happy with themselves was as much a part of destiny as was finding the salon’s home.

“We started looking,” Flanagan said of the search she and her husband, Dustin, did for the perfect location. “Nothing really stood out. This little house was for sale and we thought,
‘Hmmm, I never noticed that place before.”

The couple spent much of the summer renovating the home. At one point, while sanding the floors, they found 60-year-old pages of the Denver Post featuring beauty supply and wedding advertisements.

“I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” Flanagan said.

After a month of being in business, Flanagan said she is fulfilling her destiny.

“We want people to relax and slow down,” Flanagan told Malissa Gelles, a customer who came by the salon Wednesday to get her hair cut.

“Slow down — I don’t know what that means,” said Gelles, a local business owner.

The salon’s subtle aura encourages customers to literally let their hair down. The sole clock in the home-turned-beauty salon hangs on the wall where Thatcher, a professional aesthetician, times her skin-care procedures.

“I want, within two years, for people to say, ‘Hey, where did you get your hair done?’ (and the response to be) ‘Oh, the Pear.’”

Valerie Singleton can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 319, or by e-mail at vsingleton@times-call.com.