By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
This past March, Sandee Kranz opened what is referred to as a “Paul Mitchell Focus Salon” near Lowe’s on Hwy 72 E in Athens. It is called The SK Salon, and there is just something special about the place and its team. For starters, in the few short months since they have been open, they have been able to give $1,000 to the Noah Crowe Foundation, which is dedicated to the memory of a little guy whose battle with cancer brought our whole town together. That is not the only non-profit that SK supports, and what makes any salon which carries Paul Mitchell products a “focus salon,” is their commitment to philanthropy.

By way of background, Sandee moved here from Tennessee with her family and graduated from Athens High in 1991. She married, had three kids, moved to Huntsville, worked, and got laid off, as well as divorced. She then decided to go to the Paul Mitchell training center, graduated, and worked at Bangs. Later she worked at the Stile Salon in Huntsville and fell in love with how involved they were with the community. Sandee knew that no matter where she worked, that same generous heart was going to have to be a part of any salon’s culture where she had a chair and clients.

While Sandee was very happy at Stile, there was that restless hunger which afflicts true entrepreneurs to bring the same kind of “vibe” to Athens. With the blessing of Emma Stiles Bunyard, Stile’s owner, she began to look for a place of her own. “We looked everywhere,” said Sandee, “but I just knew that it had to be right on Hwy 72.” It was her mom who found the place, which is the location of the former Millar Chiropractic Clinic, and the moment Sandee went inside, she knew she was “home.”

Here is some of what Sandee says about The SK Salon experience: “We excel at brilliant blondes, beautiful brunettes and make redheads more feisty. We truly listen to the needs you have with your hair and deliver the best results.” She went on to tell me more of the Paul Mitchell philosophy, as well as her personal goals for the salon, how it serves the clients, and the wide variety of opportunities available to support all kinds of worthy causes. In addition to the Noah Crowe Foundation, The SK Salon features other non-profits for two months at a time. Re-centered.org, which is a restoration ministry for women, has been one. Another is Matt and Jana Pettus’ goal of raising money for adoptions. There is a jewelry line for sale, and $2 of each sale goes to the Full Tummy Project; Sandee’s dad makes wooden boot shuckers with 100% of the profits going to the Full Tummy Project as well. Sandee and her family fellowship at Friendship United Methodist Church, and the salon also raises funds for Esperanza, Rising Nicaragua, and other missions.

By way of history, Paul Mitchell was wildly successful as a hairdresser in London in the ‘60s, having been trained by the legendary Vidal Sassoon. Mitchell became burned out with the whole London scene, and spent some time as a recluse in Hawaii, where he essentially re-invented himself. He then joined forces with another “John Paul” whose last name was DeJoria, and they developed a line around their signature Hawaiian ginger plant Awapuhi shampoo. They also had a requirement that if someone was going to have the “Paul Mitchell Focus Salon” distinction, then demonstrable altruism was going to be part and parcel of that salon’s modus operandi. While Mr. Mitchell died of cancer in 1989, his vision has not, and “The Paul Mitchell System” continues to thrive.

Sandee has her own vision for the salon as well. “We want you to feel loved. We want you to feel welcomed, and we want this to be your getaway place. Another way of putting it is that we want this to be your sanctuary,” she said. The SK Salon is full service for both men and women, people whose style is everything from conservative to “edgy.” The word is getting around, their client base is building rapidly, and if you are wanting to get ready for that special holiday party or event, you would be wise to make your appointment for a “full pampering” today. Christmas is in ten days, and if you are “stuck” trying to find a gift for that person on your list that has everything, Sandee would be happy to “fill the bill” for you with a gift certificate. Call today, and see what she and her team can do to help you or someone you love feel completely beautiful.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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