Longtime hairdresser Debbie Eckerdt knows what makes a successful salon.
The owner of Bella Haven has been in the business since she was 18, and she’s worked in a number of establishments in the area, including the old Body and Soul Day Spa downtown.
So the fact that her Main Street salon has been successful despite the stiff competition in the area should come as no surprise; Eckerdt knows how to treat her clients.
“I’ve worked in big salons, but I like being in a quiet little shop,” she admitted. “I like the personal touch, the one-on-one I get with my customers.”
“Here our clients are our friends.”
A resident of Oldsmar, Eckerdt opened Bella Haven seven years ago after working at the Hair We Are salon there for a number of years.
In fact, she liked the area so much she named her business after the town; bella haven translates to “beautiful harbor”.
But it takes more than a pretty name to succeed in an area where the only businesses more popular than salons are bars. Yet Eckerdt didn’t let the odds affect her goals.
“We don’t worry about competition,” Eckerdt said. “Each of the shops around here has its own clientele, so there’s something for everyone.”
"And most of us have had our clientele for twenty some-odd years, so they follow us."
Manicurist Beth Saulsgiver agreed with her longtime friend.
“The stores around here don’t always last, but the salons do because there are so many people located in this little area and they each have their particular favorites.”
"And we get people from out of town, too," she added. "They walk down Main Street ... and they always come in here."
Bella Haven offers a number of services for hair, nails and skin including cuts, coloring, waxing, facials, foiling and pedicures.
Eckerdt is a Redken specialist and uses many of the hair care giant’s products. And Saulsgiver is a whiz with a nail brush, creating works of art on the tip of a finger.
But it still comes down to customer service at Bella Haven, and Eckerdt says she will always make sure the clients come first.
“A lot of my clients are my friends,” she said. “They come in and kick their shoes off and lay on the couch.”
“We have all the things that a big salon has, but we’re just a small little salon.”
Address: 410 Main St.
Hours: Tue - Sat, 10am - 9pm; Sun, Mon, closed. Call for special appointments.