When You Need A Hand And Only The Best Will Do

May 02, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie

When it comes to personal services, we all deserve the best.

may be the limousine driver who goes out of his way to make sure you catch the plane. Or the floral designer who creates arrangements for your wedding that reflect not just what you asked for, but also what you only dreamed. It may be the mechanic who swathes your "baby" in custom-made cloths to keep from marring its finish while he works on the engine. Or the hairstylist who truly cares how you feel as well as how you look.

But how to find the folks into whose care we would joyfully place our hair, our pets, our homes, our palates, our cars? Often we associate such luxury service with cities like New York, or Dallas or Los Angeles. But in truth, superior service is best offered by those who enjoy their work. And Baltimore abounds in such folk.

Though their skills are in disparate fields, what they have in common is an abiding love for their work. Over and over they say, "I just love what I'm doing." Their care and concern come through in gracious manners and genuine enthusiasm.

Here is just a tiny sample of people who deliver some of Baltimore's most "distinctive" services.

David E. White

Carey Limousine

Getting there is half the fun? Well, perhaps, if you have the foresight to summon veteran limousine driver David E. White and his blue Cadillac chariot to whisk you wherever you want to go.

About 10 years ago Mr. White, a former executive, gave up retirement for life on the road, ferrying such notables as George Burns, Dionne Warwick, and members of the Alvin Ailey dance troupe. He's driven ballplayers to the airport and brokerage officials to power lunches -- in Manhattan.

"I love people," Mr. White says. "In these years, the people I've met and rubbed elbows with . . .it's unbelievable."

Natalie Cole sent him a copy of her "Unforgettable" video. Tony Bennett always wants to sit up front. Kelly Ripken never forgets to send regards to his wife.

He wants each person who steps into his car to be comfortable. "It's very important to have a clean car," he says. "I tell them my name, give them a smile, a nice handshake -- put on soft music in the car -- it depends on who they are, of course. Most of the people we carry, they've been in limos before. It's not really new to them. You let them do the talking, of course. You don't talk to them unless they want to talk to you." But many of his regular clients are happy to carry on a conversation: "They just get in the car and start talking."

Mr. White owns his own vehicle, but he books through Carey Limousine. The service costs about $60 an hour, including gratuity.

And there's one more thing you should know about Mr. White's service: He says, "I pride myself on being early."

Carey Limousine of Baltimore, (410) 837-1234.

Corbin

Ashley's, the Salon

It's not just about getting a good haircut, but about getting a good haircut for that person," says Corbin, who holds some of Baltimore's most stylish heads in his hands at Ashley's, the Salon, at the Inn at the Colonnade in Baltimore.

The stylist, a veteran of 11 years behind the hair dryer, says his customers range from the corporate to the funky, but everyone gets the same "meticulous" attention. "You have to take into account everyone's differences and create an appropriate look."

He tries to provide "something that lasts," for people who don'want to fuss with their hair. "Some of these ladies just don't have that kind of time," he says. "Everyone has very busy lives. Coming here is more fun than going to the dentist -- but, on the other hand, it's one more thing you have to work in."

Adjusting his schedule to his clients can mean long hours, bufor Corbin, that is simply part of the territory. "I respect them and I appreciate their allegiance to me. They believe in me, because they know I'm also looking out for their best interests."

"He's a dedicated stylist and a very kind young man," says saloowner Miriam Murphy. "I'd like to have about six of him."

Ashley's is a full-service salon for men and women; shampoo, haircut and styling by Corbin costs $44.

Ashley's, the Salon, the Inn at the Colonnade, 4 W. University Parkway, (410) 889-2225.

Stiles Colwill

#Colwill-McGehee Antique,

Decorative and Fine Arts

What to do with that empty spot in the foyer? That space under the mirror just cries out for a small chest or console table . . . but what should it be? Sheraton? Hepplewhite? Chippendale? How about an Empire chest of drawers by Baltimore's William Camp? Or a signed piece by Baltimorean John Needles?

Do pieces like that exist for private sale? Stiles Colwill would know.

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