Meet your merchant: Grass Valley’s Salon Empire — where everybody knows your name
605 S. Empire St., Suite E, Grass Valley
Hours and stylists’ individual phone numbers available on Facebook
There’s a good reason Tina Charnett became so interested in the field of psychology.
Having been a hairdresser for nearly three decades, she’s had to be a counselor, comforter and confidante — or often just a sympathetic ear. When she decided to go back to school and earn a master’s degree in psychology in her late 40s, her older clients at Salon Empire were her biggest cheerleaders.
“The best part of my job is the life knowledge I’ve gained from dealing with the public,” said Charnett. “Having started as a hair stylist at such a young age, I was taught a lot by my older clients. The most valuable advice I got was, ‘Don’t wait for your golden years to follow your dreams — do it now.’”
As a teen, Charnett saw the Regional Occupation Program at Nevada Union High School as a ticket out of school and an opportunity to enter the working world. When she was introduced to the world of hair styling, she loved it. But it wasn’t until 2013 that she finally opened her own Grass Valley business, Salon Empire, along with friend and fellow stylist, Lindsay Mackey.
Mackey’s interest in hair came a little earlier. As a girl, she loved styling her Barbie’s hair and wasn’t happy with the way her mother braided her own, so she started experimenting with various styles. She was hooked. A 2001 Nevada Union High School graduate, Mackey enrolled in the Citrus Heights Beauty College the fall after graduation, and 15 years later, she still loves what she does. She and Charnett have worked side by side for the past 13 years.
“We’re not just hairdressers, we’re ‘day makers’ — we make people happy all day long,” said Mackey. “I’ve always loved the styling part — where you’re beautiful at the end.”
Many stylists “run out the back door” when a bride comes in wanting traditional wedding hairstyles, such as “up-dos,” but Mackey has made it her specialty.
With the goal of having a small, peaceful, “drama free” salon, Charnett and Mackey have opted to rent space to just two other stylists/colorists, Linda Schulte and Lanette Gomes. Schulte owned her own business, Super Hair Salon, for 30 years and now works part-time. Gomes, a stylist and cosmetologist, is a recent addition to the team. She is an educator for Framesi and ColorProof hair products, and like the other stylists, attends regular clinics to stay abreast of current trends.
“I really enjoy the working environment here,” said Schulte. “The women are fun, and we’ve all had clients who have stayed with us for decades.”
“I’ve been going to Tina for 28 years — I’ve followed her from the beginning,” said client Judy Linhares of Nevada City. “She’s just good at what she does.”
With several more years of school ahead, Charnett’s clients are happy she’s not going anywhere soon, and even then she might just keep some of her loyal clients.
“The best part of our jobs is that we make people feel good about themselves,” said Mackey. “That can mean a lot because the world can feel so negative. It feels good to know we’ve made someone’s day.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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