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Salon Ultimo improves with trends

Manager Molly Hesse, left, and co-owner Shannon Schultz have been a team since 2007, just a year after Schultz and her husband, Chris, bought Salon Ultimo outright from the couple who founded the business in 1988. (Bulletin photo by Mathias Baden)

Woodbury

Both Shannon Schultz and her husband, Chris, are the second generation in their families to have careers in the salon business.

Their mothers were stylists who owned and operated their own salons for years.

While Schultz was immersed in her mother's business from a young age and gained 15 years of experience before the couple bought Salon Ultimo in Woodbury, Chris "had no idea that he would end up following in his mother's footsteps," the business website said.

In 2004, an impending layoff as a Northwest Airlines mechanic presented the perfect timing for Chris to join his wife in buying the salon, which John Mingo and Rebecca Erickson opened in November 1988 at Seasons Market, near the intersection of Radio Drive and Tamarack Road.

In September 1998, Schultz had started working as a Salon Ultimo stylist.

She still works "behind the chair," she said, as a master stylist at the full-service salon and spa which offers pedicures, manicures, massages, skin care, makeup, and brows, lashes and tinting.

Their stylists, nail technicians, estheticians, massage therapists, and sales and service coordinators are educated and passionate, innovative and open to new ways of bringing products and techniques to the clients, manager Molly Hesse said.

With new services added every year and a staff that stays up to date with education on new trends like balayage hair coloring and dermaplaning facials, Salon Ultimo strives to be "on the cutting edge of everything we offer," Hesse said.

Top-of-the line products — like Surface's high performance, salon exclusive hair care products that are certified organic, gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, vegan and phalat-free — are available in the business' first impression center.

The salon's positive, relaxing and fun environment is enhanced by recent updates that include an enclosed, quieter spa and private pedicure rooms.

"For guys, it's a great way for them to try it for the first time," Hesse said.

Salon Ultimo has built up long-term clientele, received oodles of referrals, and enjoyed an online presence complete with many positive customer reviews, Hesse said.

From its place among Woodbury's humble beginnings and Seasons Market as an early strip mall, every year the salon's business has grown.

"It just started growing," Hesse said of the city.

"Around us," Schultz added.

They credit the business' growth to quality service, ability to change with the trends, proximity to other walk-in businesses in the mall, well-trained staff and a loyal customer base.

"We have clients who came here for their first haircut, and then we do their prom hairstyling and their wedding day," Hesse said.

From visits to the Woodbury High School senior all-night party to donations for sports teams throughout Washington County, the salon has built a rapport with the community, Schultz and Hesse said.

"It's our Salon Ultimo family," Schultz said.

The owners employ 34 people, including their daughter, a stylist.

"They know the guests' names, their family, their story. And it becomes a home to the guests, as well," Schultz said.

Hesse and Schultz said they hope that customers feel loved and comfortable at the salon. The experience and individual impacts are important to the manager and co-owner.

Hesse added: "We treat people with love and respect, and we want to see people succeed and grow. We stick together."

The attitude comes from Salon Ultimo's owners, Hesse said. They are kind people who see their employees through any hardships.

They also seek to help others, holding an annual Candle of Hope fundraiser, during which the business sells candles wrapped with the story of a family in need. In 2016, Salon Ultimo raised $4,000 in 1-1/2 months and all proceeds went to the good cause. They donate to numerous local and national causes.

Salon Ultimo is located at 783 Radio Drive, Suite 109. For more information call 651-738-5904 or visit salonultimo.com.

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