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Ali Shops Blog

Dueling Dry Bars

February 15th, 2012
by Allison Kaplan

When it rains, it pours. In addition to Blast, the blow dry bar opening two locations this spring at Shops at West End and Aloft, another blow dry bar–name not yet revealed–is in the works for 50th & France, and this one has some big names behind it.

Twin Cities attorney and philanthropist Parrel Caplan has assembled an A-List team that includes one of the Twin Cities’ best known stylists, Jason Deavalon–who has a cult-like following among local notables–and Rick Goldberg, a beauty industry guru who co-developed Cost Cutters, has consulted with Aveda and developed lines for Target and CVS. Deavalon, who has his own full-service salon in Uptown, won’t actually take appointments at the new spot, but Caplan says he will train the stylists.

The new blow dry bar will occupy the former Marty’s Barber Shop space on France Avenue in Edina.

It’s worth noting that both Twin Cities blow dry bars are being launched by business women, not stylists. Blast is owned by Kristin Neafus and Heidi Brownlee. They, like Caplan, say they see opportunity in focusing exclusively on hair styling–a trend that has caught fire on the coasts with women who crave movie star hair that lasts them for days. Meanwhile, Twin Cities salon owners like Jon Charles, who is known for his blow dries and has earned national attention for his blow dry boot camp, have shied away from the blow dry bar concept, saying it’s tough to make money on styling alone.

Like Blast, Caplan also plans to charge $35 for a blowout.

“Big salons have higher overhead, so they have to charge higher prices,” Caplan says. “My business plan is based on getting people in the door for $35. We will be open long hours, seven days a week.”

I know I’ve complained about Twin Cities salons charging as much for a blow dry as they do for a haircut. But is $35 the magic number–in a market where consumers are notoriously reluctant to pamper themselves? That may come down to whether women view professional hair styling as a necessity, or an indulgence.



Tags: 50th & france blow dry bar, blast blow dry, blow dry bar minneapolis, jason deavalon, parrel caplan

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