Stylish entrepreneurs: Couple say their new salon offers caring approach, variety of services

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By AJ Vicens

Opening a new business in a shaky economy can be a hair-raising experience.

But Pat Austin and her husband, Will Copher, say their new South Jeffco venture is, well, a lock.

“Hair is something you can’t take off,” Austin said recently in the skin care room of the Studio E Salon & Spa at 9789 W. Coal Mine Ave.

Austin and Copher had a soft opening for their new salon Sept. 8 and are planning a full-scale grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 26. That event will feature a gift-basket giveaway, 10 percent off all retail products and $10 eyebrow waxing.

The couple believe customers value a smart-looking head of hair, even in a lusterless economy.

“You have to wear it every day. If your hair doesn’t look good, you don’t feel good,” Austin said. “It’s one of those things people need to do for themselves.”

Austin and Copher have run several businesses in the past, and Copher still operates Littleton-based Alarm Man Inc., a full-service alarm dealer. They know the pitfalls of starting a new business but believe they have the right mix of factors in their favor.

“If I didn’t think this was a good thing, I wouldn’t have done it,” Copher said. “We have a lot of good people, good clientele and a great location. We’re very happy.”

Austin agreed.

“We went out and found a lot of experienced people who bring a lot to the table,” Austin said. “I feel like we did well with that. This is just a great family of girls that work great together. It’s just a happy place to be.”

The salon boasts six hairstylists, three nail technicians, a skin-care specialist and a massage therapist. Walk-ins are welcome, but most of the stylists are well established in the community and have extensive client pools.

Austin is no stranger to the salon business. Originally from Oklahoma, she’s been cutting hair since 1973.

“I guess it started when I had to learn how to deal with my own hair growing up,” Austin said sheepishly. “Then my sisters and I liked to play beauty shop. They were my guinea pigs.”

Austin has been in and out of the business over the years, but she’s still spent considerable time helping people feel better about the way they look. She has worked at salons in Oklahoma and Colorado, settling in the South Jeffco area in the early 1980s. Copher is a Littleton native and said he loves working where he grew up.

The couple live in Douglas County and spend some time in their second home in Avondale, Ariz., a few miles west of Phoenix.

“We like to get down there and unwind,” Austin said. “Lay by the pool, take a little break.”

Austin said she’s a workaholic, so the trips to Arizona don’t come often enough.

Austin concedes there is no shortage of salons in South Jeffco but says Studio E Salon & Spa should stand apart.

“Our prices are reasonable, first of all,” Austin said. “But beyond that, we care about our clients. We’re not just trying to move as many people through the door as possible. We want everyone to be happy, and we want them to feel at home.”

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.

Studio E Salon & Spa is at 9789 W. Coal Mine Ave., Unit A, just east of Mr. Biggs. The phone number is 303-325-3795. The business is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.