- Associated Press - Thursday, December 11, 2014

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) - A couple of Galesburg’s youngest entrepreneurs opened a hair salon in downtown Galesburg this July.

Cutting Edge, 149 E. Main St., is a new salon owned and operated by Tyler Stickle, 25, and Nicole Snell, 27, both of Galesburg. They decided to become independent after working for JCPenney salon for the past few years.

Stickle had been at JCPenney for four years and Snell for had been there for six.

About a year ago, the pair started thinking seriously about starting their own independent salon.

“We did our research for about a year and planned,” Stickle said.

They had to learn about how much everything would cost and where would be the best location.

They said JCPenney was a good place to start their careers, but that they wanted to move out of the corporate world.

“It was a very scary decision,” Snell said.

“We learned a lot. It’s definitely a good place to start,” Stickle said. “Neither one of us wanted to work for a corporation forever.”

They said JCPenney gave them a lot of opportunities for professional development.

However, they did not have full control over their schedule and were limited in the areas they could take continuing education classes. They also had to use hair products that were supplied by JCPenney.

Now, they can set their own schedule, receive all the profits, and use any products they want. They’ll also have more freedom to learn new techniques and skills.

“We had a lot of following from where we came from, but we are gaining new people as well,” Stickle said.

They initially hoped to find a place on Henderson Street, but ended up on Main Street.

Main Street has been a good fit for them and they’ve been surprised at how much foot traffic they receive. They also like that they are close to Knox College students.

“It’s been different being downtown,” Stickle said. “Now that we’re down here, I really like it.”

They had to make some renovations to the building, but nothing too major.

Since they’ve opened up, a number of their clients followed them from JCPenney. They did lose some clients, but said they’ve gained much more than they’ve lost.

“We had a following from where we came from, but we are gaining new people as well,” Stickle said.

Eventually, they hope to rent out the additional chairs (independent salons rent chairs to hairdressers). The salon makes money from the rent, while the individual hairdressers keep all of the their profit.

Cutting Edge has been profitable so far, but they said there is definitely room to grow.

They also want to do more to reach out to the community.

“They’re the ones that support us, so we definitely want to give back to them in some way,” Snell said.

During the holiday season, they will be participating in the Toys for Tots fundraising campaign. Customers that donate toys will be entered into a gift basket drawing.

They also hope to attend the annual bridal expo at Sandburg Mall in January.

Overall, going independent has been a success for the young entrepreneurs. They like the intimacy of the smaller location and are excited to grow.

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Source: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, https://bit.ly/1xeDh4B

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Information from: The Register-Mail, https://www.register-mail.com


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