The Final Cut.

Almost thirty years ago I went to a job interview. On my way in I passed by a hair salon, which was on the first floor. I was applying for a library job so it was weird to me that there was a hair salon in the same building but I didn’t care. There was a woman in a full-length rainbow dress in front of the salon. She had short red hair, glasses, and she was smoking a cigarette.

“You here for a haircut?” she asked.

“Job interview,” I said.

“Oh, good luck then!”

I went into the building up to the seventh floor and I think the job interview went well since I’ve worked in the same place ever since. And the hair salon, Reno’s, was there for most of that time. I got to know the woman I’d met that first day, mostly because we’d chat a little on the sidewalk while she stepped outside for a smoke and I was waiting for my wife. Her name was Rene, no relation to Reno, but she was one of the regular stylists there. I never did go in for a haircut, though.

When I came back to the office on a regular basis I was glad, and a little surprised, to see Reno’s was still open. I know hair salons were one of the businesses hit hard by the pandemic with a lot of people switching to cutting their hair at home. Then, not long ago, Reno’s was suddenly gone.

I’ve never been inside until now but whenever I looked through the window it always looked so big and so busy, with every chair filled and people sitting around waiting. Like a lot of barber shops it seemed like it was as much of a social gathering place as a business, and for a while the guy who replaced me in the library mailroom used to sit down there and flip through the magazines until someone there finally told him to leave.

 There are signs outside that say Reno’s is still open; they’ve just moved to a different location. I still feel a little sad that I wasn’t there for its last day in this building, though I hadn’t seen Rene in a few years and I think she may have retired, or moved on.

For the first time today I went into the space that was Reno’s. With all the chairs and sinks removed it feels weirdly small. I don’t know what’s next for it, or if there are even any prospective tenants.

Rene was usually responsible for the advertising placards on the sidewalks. Here’s one I took a picture of, and she laughed at the joke I made about it.

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  1. M.L. James

    It’s always sad to see a place that’s been there forever, that’s part of your life, even a peripheral part, gone. It’s happening a lot in the area I live. We see another store close down. We see a restaurant that we’ve had so many memories in, shut down. It’s unsettling. I’d much rather see growth, stores, restaurants, us — thriving! So glad that you’re documenting this place. One day someone will ask — what was the name of that hair salon? You know, it was there forever and then it moved on or something. Oh, what was the name? And if you’re still around and hear them you can say, You mean Reno’s? That happened to me the other day. I couldn’t remember the name of — oh, what the heck! I can’t remember now what it was I couldn’t remember then. sigh Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s really incredibly sad, although I have to admit I’m sadder about the disappearance of JJ’s Coffee Shop, which was just a block away, a few years ago. And the whole area where I work is changing. There used to be some rundown houses where I think groups of students would live. Those were demolished and have been replaced with big apartment buildings. And literally a whole block of fast food places is now a luxury hotel. We’re losing so much more than the businesses, too. We’re losing the long-term residents who gave the area its character.

  2. Allison

    Hair today, gone tomorrow.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      In my case that feels more appropriate all the time. I try not to get glimpses of the back of my head because of how much is missing back there.


    Stylin’, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That means a lot coming from you since you know style so well–especially after the renovation of your bathroom.


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