The sign outside of Studio 914 Hair Salon, at 1612 Compton Road, tells you there’s something special about the place. The multi-colored portrait hints of artistry. Facing the customer as you walk in is a prominent canvas on an easel : a portrait of a woman with strands of many colors like an aura framing her face.
Ms. Rhea Pettway, who has been doing hair for 17 years, says that she wants her shop to give customers a sense of calm. The portrait on display is of a spiritually conscious artist and musician, Lauren Hill, and Rhea hopes it conveys an ambience of valuing spiritual and conscious personal growth.
She began working in Mt. Healthy in 2001, first as an employee, and now for the last four years as a business owner. Her mom has been a Mt. Healthy resident since 1997, and that was part of what drew her here. In her school years, Ms. Rhea thought about a profession like law, but she’d always liked the creativity that doing hair entails. Her earnings as a hair stylist put her through business school. Now she has plans to expand the shop, just having purchased the building at 1612 Compton. She says that even with the bigger shop she will continue “caring about my clients as a family.”
Now that she owns the building, she says, she’s invested in the neighborhood – in it for the long haul,. A community bulletin board hangs next to the cash register. She feels that the location is perfect for this business, because it’s “surrounded by education,” – the schools of Mt. Healthy and North College Hill. Many of her customers are the students at these schools and their parents.
She has a lot of ideas for improving the community. She mentions that Mt. Healthy needs an identity, a brand that can help to market the neighborhood. And traffic calming for Hamilton Avenue, to slow down the cars that often fly down that street, which would not only make it safer for pedestrians, but more likely that those passing through will notice the shops. While in town her customers patronize the other businesses, but more of that could happen. She mentions that the husband of one of her customers likes to shop at the Covered Bridge Antique Mall waiting for his wife.
Ms. Rhea loves to give personal attention to her customers. She says she is really an introvert by nature, but her business draws out the extrovert in her. When asked what she likes best about the work, she says she likes the creativity that is called for, and that no two days are alike. It’s always a new challenge.