Trendy to traditional at Special FX |

Trendy to traditional at Special FX

Bobbie Miller is the owner of Special FX in Grass Valley.
John Hart/ | The Union

The customer comment heard the most at Special FX Hair & Nail Designs in Grass Valley is, “It feels good in here.”

And, according to owner Bobbie Miller, it’s the most common refrain of the staff, too.

“We just like seeing people walk out happier than when they came in,” she said. “Here, it’s all about the attitude — we have an extremely positive work environment.”

The staff laughs together; they support each other; they all dress up for Halloween. And guess what? They’re completely different when it comes to their specialties.

With customers ranging in age from 2 to 100, Special FX offers styles from the trendy to traditional, said Miller. On the one hand, stylist Nita Louise sometimes goes over to the senior center to do hair, and Carol Evans has one customer who has been coming to her for 32 years. On the other hand, the staff of seven makes it a priority to stay abreast of cutting-edge cut and color techniques and styles, as well as the latest in products and tools, Miller said.

“We incorporate some kind of professional education every quarter,” she said. “Not only does the staff take classes, we also go to shows; education keeps you stimulated. We’re well-trained so we can give the client exactly what they want.”

Years ago, Miller became interested in hair styling because she was good at it.

“I thought I would do hair until I figured out what I really wanted to do,” she said, with a laugh. “I worked in insurance, title and escrow — even a grocery store. Then I found out I loved working with hair the most.”

Eighteen years ago, Miller moved with her husband and young children from Southern California to Grass Valley in search of a better quality of life for her kids. She’s never looked back. Now her son is a sergeant in the Army, and her daughter is a registered nurse.

Seven years ago, Miller bought Special FX, a salon on Joerschke Drive that has been in business continually for the past 18 years. A Paul Mitchell signature salon, services include trendy and traditional cutting; all types of coloring, highlighting and blonding; extensions; straightening; permanents; formal hairstyling; permanent makeup; spa pedicures and all nail services.

“Bobbie is a fun owner,” said stylist Kellée Pettee. “We’re like a family here — it’s such an open, supportive environment.”

In addition to Pettee, the staff is comprised of Nita Louise, Carol Evans, Gloria Abeita, Lanette Gomes and Terrie Brocke.

Due to its success, the salon will undergo a “facelift” next year, Miller added, even though the county inspectors consistently comment on how clean the salon is.

“We’re extremely proud of the fact that 95 percent of our customers are repeats,” said Miller. “That’s significant.”

On Nov. 20, Special FX will be hosting an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will include food from Lefty’s Grill and Trattoria Milano, as well as free product samples; raffles; and items for sale, such as jewelry, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Gold Canyon Candles. Community members are encouraged to drop by, Miller said.

I’d love for people who’ve never been here to get a taste of the happy environment here,” she said. “We like to say that we’re keeping America beautiful, one customer at a time. We understand better than anyone that you get what you give.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at or call 530-477-4203.

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