25 years of Rudy’s Barbershop on Capitol Hill — and, why they called it Rudy’s to begin with

Eight million haircuts. Rudy’s, the Capitol Hill-based haircutting empire, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the company estimates they’ve given more than 8 million haircuts in that time.

The first Rudy’s was opened in January, 1993 on E Pine, by friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and David Petersen. According to company lore, the trio was looking to make a place where they could hang out with their friends.

In those grunge-era days, Capitol Hill was a very different place in terms of the demographics, and sheer numbers of people, but that was starting to change. Rudy’s opened, along with now-stalwart Linda’s, and once-beloved Bauhaus coffee. Those three were one factor in changing the neighborhood into the one we recognize now, said Danny Segal, director of marketing and brand for Rudy’s. Or at least they were a factor in changing it into the neighborhood we used to recognize, but now don’t anymore, depending on how long you’ve lived here. Continue reading

Madison Valley’s latest salon specializes in picking bugs out of your hair

Looking for another reason to ban children from Capitol Hill? Here is the slightly geographically challenged announcement of new Seattle “lice salon” Hair Fairies:

Seattle’s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, parks and cafés, might seem like a strange place for a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. But there’s Hair Fairies, nestled between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO Maria Botham thinks it’s perfect. “We aren’t just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a destination for parents and kids to feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get lice – it doesn’t discriminate – and we strive to create a space that is accepting and welcoming to everyone.”

Located at 2810 E Madison, the salon gets done pretty much what you’d expect from a lice salon. But the local location for the national chain of around a dozen salons says its methods fit in with “natural” Seattle.

“We understand the importance of ‘natural’ within the Seattle culture. We use our all-natural, plant-based products to eliminate your head lice — 100% guaranteed — with no at-home combing required. Or, if you prefer to DIY, we can teach you to tackle the pesky pests yourself,” the description reads.

Besides, chemicals won’t necessarily rid your kid — and you and your kid’s friends and your friends and grandma — of lice. The bugs are doing what good bugs do — becoming increasingly resistant to the most widely used treatments.

Company founder Maria Botham tells CHS the demand for her service really knows no season — though trends do seem to cleve closely to the school year and things like summer camp season. She says moms and dads vary by market but that her West Coast locations definitely illustrate a DIY trend for parents.

“In San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, they roll up their sleeves,” Botham said of parents fighting the bugs. If that effort can’t get the job done, Botham says, that is where Hair Fairies can help.

The service isn’t cheap. The sometimes hours-long procedures run around $105 per hour.

Got an itch? You can learn more at hairfairies.com.

Chophouse Row welcomes Cake Skincare, HONED jewelry, and neighborhood bodega Sundry

Katrina Rising, owner of Cake Skincare, stands in her new shop in Chophouse Row.

Katrina Rising, owner of Cake Skincare, in her new shop in Chophouse Row.

Cake Skincare has settled into its new Chophouse Row location and owner Katrina Rising is looking forward to meeting new clients.

“Now we are able to add on some more hours and that will give us some breathing room to play again with new people, which we’re so excited about,” Rising said.

Cake held its grand opening party in December and since the new year rolled in, the second location has hit a smooth flow, she said. The Capitol Hill location is the second Cake spot in Seattle with the first opening in Queen Anne in 2009 where Rising and her aestheticians have been building a reputation as the eyebrow experts of the neighborhood.

“The neighborhoods are different … and I really wanted each place to serve its neighborhood and have its own vibe of that neighborhood,” Rising said. Rising said Cake at Queen Anne was getting a bit squished. Now about half of Cake’s clients go to the Capitol Hill location for their beauty needs. “It really has been this pull, and I’m glad that we listened because people were really wanting us to come over here,” Rising said.

Along with Cake, two other new tenants also now call Chophouse Row home. Continue reading

Mother of the Brazilian in Seattle, 15th Ave E’s Wax On

Wax On's Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

Wax On’s Uhlir (Image: Wax On)

If the whole actress thing doesn’t work out for Demi Moore, maybe she can look into being a business consultant. An offhand comment made by the movie star in 1997 led Anne Uhlir to open Wax On Spa on 15th Ave E.

Uhlir was working at a salon and was sent to Moore’s hotel room to perform a Brazilian. Moore said there was nowhere in Seattle that offered the service and a business was born.

The idea bounced around in Uhlir’s head for a while before she opened the spa (yes, it took its name from “The Karate Kid”) in 1999. Those early years were lean, Uhlir said. At the time, there wasn’t much personal grooming of that particular variety going on.

“I had to educate them about what a Brazilian was,” Uhlir said.

Initially, she was giving the waxing away, so people could understand it. “It took me thousands of free services,” she said.

She’s also used a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign featuring beavers, the occasional pussy cat, and, during the 2000s the president’s name.

“The Bush years were a heyday,” Uhlir said.

It took about three years — with a possible assist from the adult film industry making the style more fashionable — before she really had the client base she needed to know the business was going to be able to sustain itself. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Squirrel Chops cafe+salon plans summer opening in the Central District

An image of a barbershop currently tops the Wikipedia entry for “third place” — the term given to social gathering spaces beyond the workplace and home. Throw in a cafe and you have a Capitol Hill couple’s dream business now becoming a reality on the corner of 22nd and Union.

Squirrel Chops will be two parts cafe, one part salon when it opens this summer in a narrow corner space at The Central, a recently completed 92-unit mixed-used building on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union.

“We’re all about community and building community, and I thought why don’t we just do a place that does that,” said Shirley Henderson, a former barista who is running the cafe side of the business. “We wanted to start making that our business instead of our hobbies and past time.” Continue reading

Apollo Nails joins growing beauty economy on 15th Ave E

(Image: Photo by Derek Reeves via NK Architects)

The corner where Chutney’s once stood will soon be home to Apollo Nails in the new Stream Fifteen building (Image: Photo by Derek Reeves via NK Architects)

(Image: Apollo Nails)

(Image: Apollo Nails)

There’s going to be a new business on 15th Ave that doesn’t involve marijuana. Apollo Nail Salon is set to take up all of the commercial space in the new Stream Fifteen building on 15th and Mercer.

Owner Johnny Le and his wife and business partner Connie say they’ve been wanting to open something on Capitol Hill and are only now finding the right space, about 3,000 square feet of it.

“We thought it was a great spot,” Johnny Le said. “Capitol Hill was always on our mind.”

The couple opened their first salon in Poulsbo 10 years ago. A few years later, they expanded to Silverdale, and then Queen Anne in 2012.

Once they open, Le said they hope to offer a full spa-type experience for women and men, including nails — both mani and pedi), facials, waxing, and eyelash extensions. He said they will not use acrylics for nails, which should mean no fumes wafting up to the apartment dwellers overhead. Continue reading

Portland-based Bishops bringing free beer barbershop to 12th and Pike


A Portland-born barbershop is coming to Capitol Hill along with everything you might expect from its Hawthorne District roots: punk style, trendy playlists, and lots of art on the walls.

If Bishops Barbershop sounds reminiscent of another famous neighborhood barbershop, there is a good reason why. Owner Leo Rivera was inspired to enter the hair business after watching Rudy’s Barbershop take off in Seattle. When he couldn’t convince the owners to let him expand to Portland, Rivera said he decided to do it himself.

“I didn’t know anything about hair,” he said. “I just wanted to be my own boss by 30.”

Nonetheless, Rivera was smart enough to know that offering a complimentary beer with a cut would probably go over well.

Continue reading

The Scotch Pine to add ‘cuts to Chophouse Row

FullSizeRenderWhen Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn set out to create the final piece of her puzzle on the block of Pike/Pine between 12th and 11th, Pike and Union, she decided to create a project that would take a different position in the neighborhood’s many mixed-use creations. The floors above Chophouse Row are filled with office space, not apartments. Her commercial space is also a mix — a recipe that will be boosted with the addition of popular Seattle barbershop The Scotch Pine.

“I remember sitting back in that area while Josh was playing Capitol Hill Block Party and thinking this would be a great place,” Emily Rawlings tells CHS of the preservation-friendly development her “modern barbershop your granddad would be proud of” will call home with the New Year.

Rawlings and her husband, pianist Josh Rawlings, are familiar parts of the city’s music scene and have their Capitol Hill connections but it was the available space and Central Seattle proximity as much as anything that drew the stylist to Chophouse Row.

“We have a really great following,” she said. “We get people that come from all over Seattle.”

The Scotch Pine is cut from old school barbershop cloth with a focus on quality and style — and a hot towel and a neck shave at the end. Cuts start around $35 — $15 for a buzz. Continue reading

Essensuals London brings British beauty to 11th and Union — Plus: Kismet opens on Broadway, Bang celebrates 2 years

IMG_3864Paris and London at 11th and Union? Newly opened boutique salon Essensuals London is bringing the freshest cut, coloring and styling techniques from Toni&Guy UK to Capitol Hill. After nearly a year of commuting back and forth between Los Angeles, hair whisperers (and twin brothers) Jason and Robert Townsend have opened up shop in the new retail space located next to French pastry shop Ines Patisserie at 11th and Union in the Viva building.

The brothers left Beverly Hills in search for a new home to offer their UK-inspired styling services and quickly set their sights on Capitol Hill. “We had been coming to Seattle quite a bit and fell in love with it,” Jason Townsend tells CHS. “It seemed like to us, at least, Seattle is what other major cities wish they were,” he said.

“We started looking around, we saw the style here, the cool people here, we just wanted to be part of it,” he said. Continue reading

More change on 15th Ave E as 26-year-old salon shutters

Professional Permanents hair salon, seen here to the right in 1950, was part of the 85 years of beauty in the storefront Salon Ciba called home -- for more 15th Ave E before and after, check out octopup.org.

Professional Permanents hair salon, seen here to the right in 1950, is part of the 80+ years of beauty in the storefront Salon Ciba called home — for more 15th Ave E before and after, check out octopup.org.

Salon Ciba is joining the list of longtime businesses moving on from Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E, but it has nothing to do with cash flow or rents said former owner Cindy Jarvis.

“That place was a cash cow,” she said.

Ciba joins a growing list of longtime 15th Ave E businesses to close or make big changes in the past few years, including On 15th Video, the Bagel Deli, North Hill Bakery and Chutneys, along with the Canterbury, which changed hands. Along with the overhauled Canterbury, the turnover has been matched and then some by new businesses and upgrades including a revamped Coastal Kitchen and new ventures like Nuflours, Rione XIII, The Wandering Goose, The Shop Agora, and Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe.

There had not been any proposed rent hike, beyond the typical annual increases for the Ciba space, said Stepanie Dozal of Metro Property Services, the company representing the landlord.

It’s too early to know what will become of the space; Dozal said she’d only found out in mid-September that Salon Ciba would be moving out. The business has the building until October 1st, so she delayed putting up for lease signs in the window for a while.

“We would love to have another salon,” Dozal said. Continue reading