A cut above: Geoffrey Grey and Co. not your average hair salon
By Cyntra Brown
For The Salisbury Post
Geoffrey Grey and Company Hair Studio is more than your ordinary hair salon.
You might remember the place as Don Mays Used Cars, or Ashlee’s Embroidery and Screenprinting. Or if you’ve been around for a long time, you might even remember it as Burger Chef.
Once you step inside, you would never know the building had been any of these things.
Greeted with “Welcome” scribbled on a chalkboard, soothing music and a waterfall, visitors to Geoffrey Swicegood’s salon find it is unlike any other in Salisbury.
“When they walk in the door I want people to say ‘Wow’,” Swicegood said.
Jewelry, handbags and hair products surround the reception desk decorated with “flirty” statues.
Behind the desk is a bistro full of complimentary wine, espresso, coffee and snacks and trimmed with canopies and inside windows.
“I wanted to have an outdoor building indoors,” Swicegood said.
Swicegood’s salon features a Tuscany theme that took about four months to complete. He was inspired by a picture of a “Creperie,” a French cafe, and then added some Italian flair.
He copied the colors of the canopies for his salon and even created the same brick pattern in the picture on his walls.
Inside the “outside bistro” you can relax on high chairs and surf the web while you wait to be styled. There’s also a flat-screen television in the front room with leather sofas. There’s plenty of reading material, including the Salisbury Post.
“Everyone’s always in a hurry,” Swicegood said. He wants his customers to be able to relax. He thinks their hair appointment should be an “experience.”
Swicegood has been doing hair for almost 26 years in Salisbury. He specializes in hair replacement and women’s wigs.
On a recent Friday, Judy Oberle was having her hair cut by Swicegood, who has done her hair since 1994.
“He gives a good haircut,” she says. Oberle mentions that on occasions when she hasn’t been able to leave her home to get her hair done, Swicegood has come to her ó which she appreciates.
“That’s Geoffrey,” she says.
Swicegood is also an instructor, teaching certification classes to stylists. The State Board of Cosmetic Art is requiring stylists with fewer than 20 years to have 24 hours in continuing education.
Swicegood teaches classes ranging from cutting to color and even using clippers, since he specializes in men’s hair. Swicegood is currently learning about the trend of organic hair products.
He enjoys teaching classes and learning new things himself.
“You can only learn so much in school,” Swicegood said. “School is the foundation.”
Although the atmosphere at this hair studio is more upscale than the average salon, its prices are comparable.
A simple wash, cut and style for women is around $25, while men could pay between $12 and $15. For hair color the range could be between $40 and $75.
“It all depends on the length and how many colors you want,” Swicegood said.
Walk-ins and appointments are both accepted, although Swicegood’s book is consistently full.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get an appointment for this experience. The salon currently has five stylists, with room for up to nine. All of the stylists have years of experience.
Tony Cook works with ethnic hair.
“I know how to do all hair, but I specialize in ethnic,” she said.
She loves working with Swicegood.
“It’s just like being at home,” she said.
Cook got her start by braiding hair for $1 on her school bus to earn extra cash. She went to what was Rowan Tech and has been doing hair ever since.
She is also a certified instructor and specializes in cuts and color.
Swicegood’s salon also has a private room for men’s hair pieces and consultations.
Geoffrey Grey and Co. also does makeup by appointment. Swicegood is considering offering nail services.
Before owning his current business, Swicegood began Nu Wave Salon, which he then sold, and Swicegood & Company Hair Design, both in Salisbury.
Swicegood’s newest salon is named after him even though it’s spelled differently.
His father, Gregory, wanted him to have “G-G” in his name, to follow in his footsteps.
But in 1964, Swicegood said, “my parents didn’t know there were two ways to spell Jeff.”
Swicegood changed the spelling of the salon’s name to “Geoffrey” and used his middle name, Grey, to create the name in memory of his father.
The economy hasn’t caused Swicegood split ends either. His clients don’t stop coming, he says, although they may cut back their appointments.
“They’ll come in for a cut, but might go buy hair color at Walgreens,” Swicegood said.
He did note that it is hard for younger stylists to build clientele. Even in a time where money is tight, people still want to go to a stylist they trust.
Swicegood stays in Salisbury not only because of his good client base but because it’s always been his home. He even laminated the first article the Salisbury Post printed about his being a “hair surgeon.”
“You do have to have passion to keep you going,” Swicegood said. “It’s a balance between technique and art.”
Geoffrey Grey and Co. Hair Studio is located at 816 W. Innes St. in Salisbury. The salon is open Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m. Stylists won’t leave the salon until every customer is taken care of and satisfied. To make an appointment, call 704-636-2024.