Glen Lake Couple To Open Part Salon, Part Home Decor Store in Suttons Bay
Imagine being able to shop for unique home decor at the same place you get your hair done, or vice versa. The concept of a hybrid home decor shop and hair salon sounds unique because it is. Glen Lake couple Charynn and Mitch Meoak are combining what they both love to do under one roof with Refuge Salvage Works and Refuge Salon.
The couple has been working on renovating a large space on North Broadway Street in Suttons Bay. The space is leased, but this isn’t their first rodeo with renting out commercial space.
While living downstate in Bloomfield Hills, Charynn was preparing to leave an Aveda salon job to pursue her dream of owning a salon. She’s an accomplished, Aveda educated stylist. Not only does she cut and color, she teaches classes too. She had found a great location, had been telling clients about the new salon and was just about ready to open.
“I had stylists ready to go, we were in the process of doing a buildout so it was great. But, the landlord ended up being shady. It was terrible. Mitch goes over there and sees him doing everything himself the cheapest way he can, spray painting stuff, cutting corners. I had already told my boss I was opening a salon. I’m driving to work and Mitch calls me and said, ‘Hey so the salon’s a no-go.’”
Mitch and Charynn have taken their second chance at opening a business into their own hands, literally. Mitch is in the process of renovating their new 2200 square foot building himself which is fitting, considering his end of the business is all about working with his hands.
“I just like making these one off pieces. We found some old wine crates in Alberta and turned them into end tables with lights on them. Candleholders, centerpieces, panels, light fixtures, just old stuff. Stuff we find and repurpose.”
The decor has a rustic and modern style. Mitch started playing around with creating unique home decor pieces out of metal, and the deeper he got into honing his skill, the more expensive tools he had to buy. Eventually, his interest in woodworking was piqued too. Charynn insisted that he should expand his wood and metal pieces beyond being a hobby.
“He wanted to buy a sawmill, those aren’t cheap,” she said.
“So we started doing farmers markets in Empire and Suttons Bay over the summer,” Mitch said.
Farmer’s markets in northern Michigan are a great way for new business owners to introduce themselves to the community. Mitch’s decor was a big success, so much so, he could hardly keep up with making enough product to keep his booth stocked. Through the farmer’s markets he began to build a client list.
“A lot of our work is client work, so we go to people’s houses and see what people need and what they want. A lot of times it’s like, we have the perfect piece of maple already so we can chat with them about the differences of maple and ash and pine,” Charynn said.
He uses a combination of secondhand goods, reclaimed wood and scrap metal for Refuge Salvage Works. The wood comes from fallen trees on a plot of family land they share with Charynn’s parents in Glen Lake. Other materials come from antique stores and discarded metal from people he meets through working a part-time job in propane. He helps bring to life client ideas for decor pieces and helps conceptualize ideas with them when they’re looking for ideas on decorating a specific area.
Refuge Salon will be an Aveda Salon with offering cutting, coloring and facials made from local skincare products. Charynn also plans to continue doing instructional classes for other stylists and implementing an assistant program she created to get stylists acclimated to salon life before jumping right into doing hair.
“I made a lot of connections with Grand Traverse County and Leelanau County herbalists through the farmers market so I’ve been able to try a lot of their skincare. I want to have an area for them to sell some of their stuff here,” Charynn said.
Working together as a married couple can be frustrating, but Mitch and Charynn have had a relatively easy go of it.
“I think the most challenging thing, speaking for myself, is that I can’t be here more. We have a baby that just turned a year old and then we have a three-year-old. We’re trying to balance everything,” Charynn said
“We communicate really well and we’re open about what we need. That’s really what makes it work,” Mitch said.
The strength and patience they’ve both practiced have paid off. The shop is set to open at the end of March of this year. Charynn will finally have her salon, and Mitch will have a storefront to sell and showcase his home decor, and the best part about that? They get to do it as a family.