"We like big hair! I try to keep it big, but I like it a bit messy," says Mary Jane, owner of Thomas Scott Salon and Spa, with her adorably tasseled yet styled 'do.' The room is full of laughter and Gwen Zimmerman, her daughter-in-law, is in agreement. It's a revelation that is endearing to us 80's fans, who are fond of the styling known for curls teased to heavenly heights. Her curls and their height may be tamed a bit, but Thomas Scott Salon and Spa owner, Mary Jane Tabler's, remains perfectly in style!
Getting to know more about this diminutive woman, you see that behind her gentle southern ways, lies the grit that it takes to be at the helm of her salon in an ever-changing and demanding industry.
"I had the privilege of being a stay at home mom for 11 years, but I had always wanted to be a hairdresser. I always loved this industry! I used to make my sister sit and let me do her hair; she had such thick, pretty hair!" Mary Jane says. Soon after attaining her goal of becoming a hairstylist, she took steps to open her salon, Thomas Scott Salon and Spa. Mary Jane is so proud of the salon she founded 36 years ago.
Always seeking to grow and evolve with changing times, Thomas Scott Salon and Spa has kept up with the latest styles and innovations in hair care. "We've tried to keep ahead of the curve," Mary Jane says of the business, "not only with our move, but with our emphasis on education and hair trends, and with technology in the salon. One reason I have lasted in the business is because we try to be very progressive. We went with computerized systems early on. It demanded a lot of attention to stay up to date. I loved being behind the chair but to grow the business like we did, I couldn't do both."
Growing and changing, both Mary Jane and Gwen believe that the best business move is to relocate the salon from their Baughmans Lane location to their new space at the Frederick Shopping Center. The new location is designed with an industrial flair and high ceilings. They consulted with an architect and Mary Jane and Gwen worked to be sure that everything needed for success was integrated into the design. Gwen says, "One thing that has changed is we are going with a heavy retail presence with natural and organic products that have an emphasis on giving back. We're featuring Farmhouse Fresh, a skincare line that has a passion for rescuing, safe relocation, and loving care of forgotten, neglected, and abused animals. Another brand we will feature, Klass Cosmetics, is a company we are so excited about. With Klass, they have developed a program called Klass Act. For each product that is purchased, they will donate a product to an organization of our choosing that helps women. Last year, we designated Heartly House, and Klass Act donated over $2,000 worth of cosmetics. They were so excited to receive these luxury products. Any product we bring into the space is here for a reason."
Along with Mary Jane at the helm, she has had as many as four other family members as part of the business. She says, "Thank God I have good people around me. I've always had a lot of family that has supported me—my daughter, Janie, and granddaughter, Sarah, work here. My sister worked as buying manager, but she just retired. Gwen was an oncology nurse and has been working here for about three years as a consultant. She's been such a help with the business and the move."
Gwen says she does miss her former job as an oncology nurse, but the drive became too much, and that's how Mary Jane got her! "I do anything that needs to be done. I have been doing all social media, maintaining the website, public relations, and marketing by attending all the community events, and working on the culture in the salon." Mary Jane says," Gwen is on the leadership team and has organized team building events like rock painting, and a retreat. I love doing all the things that Gwen does. It's fun for me to go with her to all the mixers like rotary and Chamber. We look to find ways to participate in giving back to the community." Mary Jane concludes with, "We've had so many challenges in getting into our new place but we are so excited. Along with the other stores, restaurants, and a grocery store, it's a really great location and it's got everything. We needed a change, and this is just the start of our new adventure." ThomasScottSalons.com