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Hairdressers Salon & Tanning is now 19 Salon & Spa

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ Hairdressers Salon & Tanning is now 19 Salon & Spa, 19 S. 1st St. Pictured is founder Bonnie Gaskill and her son Shawn Hovel, who owns the business.

Hairdressers Salon & Tanning, 19 S. 1st St., has been a staple downtown business since it was founded in 1970 by Bonnie Gaskill. But like all businesses, change was inevitable.

Gaskill sold the business to her son Shawn Hovel in September 2015 but stayed on as an employee. Damage sustained to the building by the 2018 tornado saw the business relocate to the Nicholas Center in the weeks following, until July 2019. But, says Hovel, the goal was always to return to its original downtown location. On July 16, Hovel and staff opened the doors as the newly dubbed 19 Salon & Spa, with the “19” a nod to its address. While the approximately 4,000-square-foot salon retained its size, the layout of the space was reconfigured.

A hole in the roof, water damage and a lack of heat and electricity made it a complex project.

“I never thought I’d take over the business. I installed floors for 25 years,” Hovel said. “I worked 18-20-hour days renovating the salon. But when I see customers’ reactions, it makes me feel really good and that it was all worth it.”

First, the facade and sidewalk out front was replaced, following by interior work. Renovation work began in the fall. Hovel said having a high quality insurance policy was helpful to the process.

A hot tub area, available for spa-goers, is brand new. Its other salon services include hair cuts and styles, makeup, facials, waxing, chemical peels, manicures/pedicures, massages, tanning and spray tanning. Hovel employs five full-time workers and three part-time. His mom still works in the salon part-time.

“If you love what you do, you never really work,” Gaskill said.

Wanting to better understand the beauty business, Hovel enrolled at the Iowa School of Beauty in 2017, graduating in the final class in February 2019 before the Marshalltown branch of the school closed permanently.

“Marshalltown needs a beauty school,” Hovel said.

Hovel said that while going to school in the midst of tornado recovery was stressful, he’s pleased with the new look of 19 Salon & Spa.

“It’s a family business. My sister (Tracy Bolar) works here too,” he said.

Gaskill said in her nearly 50 years at Hairdressers, many styles and trends have come and gone. Trainings and continuing education are essential if a stylist wants to keep and retain clients.

Both mother and son said being a Surface salon (carrying that line of products) is an important aspect of their business.

“We rank number 56 out of the 8,000 Surface salons in the United States,” Hovel said.

The salon is open Tuesdays through Saturdays and may be reached at 641-752-4910.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz a

641-753-6611 or

sjordan@timesrepublican.com