Bedecked in more than $2 million of decorative glass, massage chairs and a shower that rains in color, Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa will open its new location April 15.
The salon, at the developing Kenwood Towne Place in Sycamore Township, is about a third larger than its 21-year-old space down the street on Montgomery Road, and includes the added services and breathing room to use it. Employing a staff of roughly 80, salon founder and owner Deborah Schmidt expects to add 10 more, and sales are projected to increase over the next 12 months by 10 percent to 15 percent (prices for services will not change).
“We definitely want this to be a resort atmosphere,” Schmidt said, after passing through the granite-counter bathrooms and dimly lit relaxation parlor, with its chaise lounges of muted gold. “When you are here at the spa, we want you to feel like you are at a resort.”
Schmidt and Michael Batchelor, general manager at Mitchell’s, took time a few days before the opening to provide a tour. Schmidt invested $2.2 million in the new space, and it shows. The 13,600-square-foot location, with its expanded manicure and pedicure rooms, spacious salon and 10-room spa, is adorned with quartz-tile walls, locally produced art and custom-made glass throughout. The wall of the main entry is slate, and the Mitchell’s sign hangs against backdrop of highly polished copper.
Accessing that main entrance may take a while, however. Kenwood Towne Place, also anchored by Crate & Barrel, the Container Store and Kroger Marketplace, has been mired in liens and lawsuits filed by subcontractors who say they have not been paid in months. But several of the tenants are up and running, and Mitchell’s is easily accessible from the elevators in the parking deck.
“This is a magnificent location,” Schmidt said. “I think the building will ultimately be successful. It just ran into a hiccup.”
The Mitchell’s space can best be described as handsome. It is not gender-specific, not ultra-feminine like many salons and spas. This is intentional, Schmidt said. Roughly 17 percent of her clients are men, and the figure is growing. So there is a men’s locker room along with the women’s, and the colors, lighting and fixtures all were carefully selected to appeal to both.
Overall, the style is minimalist. The tables and bureaus, for example, are dark paneled and the colors lean toward warm earth tones. The chandeliers are simple wheels of dark copper, and the floors are porcelain tile, one of the few surfaces that can withstand the chemicals and beatings a salon dishes out.
Many of the amenities at Mitchell’s current location – the refreshment area, the Macintosh computers, the catered lunches – will carry to the new locale, but with more space. The salon in particular is much more capacious, each of the 29 work stations is equipped with two right-angle mirrors and streamlined cabinets to handle laundry, trash and anything else that might pull a workers from her space. Of the added amenities: a photo booth, where clients can have their new style photographed, or e-mailed, for future reference. It will be available within 30 days of the salon’s opening.
“You haven’t seen anything,” Schmidt said. “Wait until you see the spa.”
Separated from the rest of the salon, the spa is beyond a glass-paneled door. Down a long hallway stand 14 rooms, for treatments, relaxation, changing and, at the very end, dining. Schmidt walks through each, pointing out the custom cabinets that hide the hot stones and facial scrubs. Gilded art work and glass-tile trim adorn the walls. Four rooms are for massage, five are for skin treatments, and one is the water treatment room, where a client can have a luxurious vichy shower, with seven massage heads, followed by the multi-colored waterfall shower, also new.
“It feels,” Schmidt said, “like you died and gone to heaven.”
The dining room, which seats 17, will be catered by the Cheesecake Factory next door, at Kenwood Towne Centre.
Running a salon of this size requires a lot of maintenance. Behind the scenes, two industrial-sized washers and dryers handle dozens loads a days. There are five water heaters, and a kitchen where incoming food is plated and garnished (dishes from Crate & Barrel).
A salon of this size also requires a lot of staff. So in addition to the stylists and manicurists (of which there is always a shortage), there is a graphics designer, a vice president of education (for staff) and a bridal coordinator. Schmidt shares her office, she said, with the head of information technology.
Winding up the tour, Schmidt remembers that Mitchell’s was recently chosen by Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) as one of five U.S. flagship salons to carry its Sebastian products. With so much going on, it just slipped her mind. She still had to say goodbye to the old location.
Mitchell’s closed its former location, at 8118 Montgomery Road, April 11. The staff held a sleepover there that night.
Mitchell’s operates locations in Hyde Park, West Chester, Northgate and Tri-County and also owns Pump Salon in Norwood. A second Pump is opening May 15 at Kenwood Towne Centre in the former Walden Books locations.