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Putting Down Greener Roots

by Jane Schmidt & photos by Turner Photography Studio

Grass Roots Hair Salon brings an eco-conscious approach to hair and beauty care.

Grass Roots Hair Salon is a little salon with a big idea. “We’re a greener-concept salon,” explains Owner and Operations Manager Tara Yost, who along with Owner and Creative Director Chriss Bittle, envisioned the salon and its unique approach of minimizing its carbon footprint while moving guests toward beautiful, healthier hair plans.

“I think our ultimate goal is to ‘do better.’ We strive to learn more, to care more, and to give back more — and by doing so we hope that it encourages those around us. We feel that small steps in the direction of the common good will lead to big impacts for the future — a grassroots movement of forward momentum that can easily be implemented in a small business like ours,” Chriss explains.

Creating a Green Salon

With the help of friends and family, Tara and Chriss did most of the salon’s green renovations. They took apart their North End location down to skeletal walls and floorboards. “We only outsourced the plumbing and electricity,” shares Tara. Tara’s husband Wayne did the masonry work while Chriss’ mother, Sharon Hanley, provided finish carpentry and visions for implementing up-cycled designs. Tara and Chriss scoured the area, salvaging countless items to repurpose and up-cycle, and in the end created a unique, welcoming “green” salon.

“Everything in here has a story. Our hair equipment is the only new thing in here,” laughs Tara. The salon’s architectural décor, wainscoting, towel cabinet, and shelves showcasing eco-friendly product lines are all derived from repurposed kitchen cabinetry. Chalkboards above the entry and waiting area wall are embellished with seasonal sayings and whimsical artwork courtesy of Ashleigh Morris, the salon’s front desk coordinator. The reception desk — a dramatic, welcoming focal point nestled in the corner of the waiting area — is refurbished from a salvaged dining room table and coordinates with surrounding architectural elements.

The salon’s neutral charcoal waiting area and bright salon walls feature low VOC paint to minimize ozone and air pollution and help stave off a host of health problems oftentimes associated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in regular paint pigments. “It’s our responsibility to do no more harm,” explains Chriss. “Our goal is to not put anymore ‘bad’ out into the environment.”

The salon’s workstation décor features 200-year-old locally salvaged log home doors artfully positioned behind each workstation mirror, and to Tara's delight, bamboo flooring was acquired from the ReStore.

Attention to detail is part of the salon’s business mantra. “We designed the floor plan specifically to be all-inclusive for our guests. We took great pains positioning the workstations, ergonomic tilting shampoo bowls, and waiting area layout, thinking about what each guest would see in each location. It was important to make everyone who visits a part of what’s going on,” Tara emphasizes.

A collage of pictures showcases salon guests and has a prominent place on the workstation area wall. “These are real, beautiful people from within our community who are our guests, not model shots provided by Redken or Pureology,” shares Tara. “Our goal at Grass Roots Hair Salon is to keep it real by celebrating our guests and their individual beauty.”

Grass Roots Hair Salon also makes recycling a priority within its daily business plan. “We recycle as much as we can and only fill one garbage bag during a typical business day,” shares Tara. “That’s impressive for a hair salon.”

From Shop To Services

In addition to creating a green-conscious business location, Grass Roots Hair Salon offers its guests plentiful options for creating lasting hair and skin health through a variety of eco-friendly products and services. “It’s our responsibility to maintain guests’ hair health and work with them to devise a personalized, healthier hair lifestyle,” Chriss explains.

The salon offers a vast menu of hair services for the head, including haircuts and designs for men, women, and children ages 12 and under. “Our highly trained stylists are amazing,” shares Tara. “We’re a well-rounded salon that offers a lot of customized detail and artistic expression.”

Grass Roots Hair Salon specializes in color and features eco-friendly, green product lines by Pureology and Redken.  “We offer ammonia-free color options which utilize an oil delivery system that is gentler on hair. Some of these products are also vegan and sulfate-free, and avoid damage to delicate hair cuticles. They use less water and create less waste,” shares Chriss. The salon also features balayage hair painting through customized color blending, extended hair design, and retexturizing. In addition to its many hair services, Grass Roots Hair Salon offers waxing services from the pot, including brow design and full facial waxing.

“Grass Roots Hair Salon keeps abreast of the latest, cutting edge developments in the hair and beauty industry. We are always looking for something better for our guests as well as for the environment,” Chriss explains.

A Dream Turned Reality

Friends since they were youngsters and co-workers for a decade, Tara and Chriss are seasoned professionals who sought to create their own niche business. Tara, whose family includes many business owners, decided to finally take the plunge into business ownership after her 20-plus-year stint within the local hair and beauty industry. “I wanted to do my own thing and the only way I could do that was to have my own salon,” she shares.

Chriss always dreamed of owning and operating her own business. She relishes the creative processes she shares with guests and teammates. “We’re here to create as well as recognize and encourage each other,” shares Chriss. Tara adds, “We’re a team that is here to help each other to do better.”

Grass Roots Hair Salon has a staff of seven, including Senior Cosmetologists Stephanie Munday and Megan Harper and Waxing Technician/Assistant Miranda Embly, plus Tara, Chriss and Ashleigh, all of whom have been with the salon since its inception. “The retention of our talented, dedicated staff speaks volumes on how we run our business,” explains Tara.

The salon’s growing guest list features clients of all ages. “We have many long-term relationships with our guests and their families,” Tara shares. “We have done guests’ hair through the years, from school proms and dances to weddings. Now we take care of their children’s hair. That extension of family is very special and important to us.”  The salon has a dedicated clientele, including guests who have since moved to Kentucky and Germany who visit the salon for continued service.

Tara and Chriss love what they do, as demonstrated by the friendly atmosphere within Grass Roots. “Our guests love to hang out even when they don’t have appointments. A refreshing, comfortable vibe resonates here.  The joy we share with our staff and guests is tremendous, and the fact that we’re doing it all within our own business is a wonderful bonus,” concludes Tara.

Go Green

Grass Roots Hair Salon
18707 Crestwood Dr., Hagerstown

Closed Sun. & Mon.
Tues.– Fri.: 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Sat.: 8 a.m.–3 p.m