Hair salon in Locust Point finds a way to double dip


August 31, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

DREAMING entrepreneurial dreams, a hairdresser I know wondered aloud about the kind of business that could work well in tandem with a hair salon. "A coffee bar," she said. "Yeah, a coffee bar would work. Or how about a sushi bar? Or a book store maybe. How about an ice cream parlor?"

Sorry, my dear. That's been done.

You can find such a place in Locust Point. (But you can't find it on Mondays. It's closed Mondays. Scott Erickson, the Orioles hunk, went there for a haircut on a Monday, and the women of the shop have been sick about missing him ever since.)

About nine years ago, Earl Gallion moved his hair-styling salon out of the space he'd been renting for more than a decade and took it across Fort Avenue. He bought old Doc Sollod's corner pharmacy/soda fountain; the place had an apartment in the rear.

At first Gallion considered turning the soda fountain into his new salon. But his second and third thoughts were better:

Why not keep the soda fountain and put the salon in the rear?

Why not divide my working life into two careers - hairstyling and soda jerking?

So that explains why, when you call Earl's Malt Shop, you can ask what the flavor-of-the-month is, then make an appointment for a perm. And it explains why there are two ways to get to the "best little hair house in Baltimore." You can step directly into Earl's salon off the side street, Webster Street. Or you can step off Fort Avenue into the malt shop, cluttered with collectibles and old signage, then walk past the long wooden counter with the apothecary drawers, down a narrow hallway and back to the salon.

What we have here is an ingenious marriage of amenities - a place to get an ice cream or snowball connected to a place where you can get your hair done. And a lot of Gallion's customers double dip, treating themselves to a scoop of Hershey's after getting a 'do.

"Oh yeah," says Earl, "when I moved the shop across the street a lot of them wanted to know if I was going to keep the soda fountain open."

I'll tell you one thing: It's a great way to induce a reluctant 8-year-old boy into getting a back-to-school haircut. Sit for a cut, you tell him, and in the next instant you can have a dish of ice cream! Trust me, it works.

Gallion only styles hair in the morning. Afternoons, he leaves the salon customers in the hands of his stylists - Santina, Beverly, Richard, Katie and Tiffany - and works in the malt shop. He's very proud of the City Paper's selection of his root beer float as the best in Baltimore.

In "Shock Value," an early book about his film career, John Waters writes of grouchy Baltimore women breaking out of their bad moods by getting their hair done, then treating themselves to big, greasy submarine sandwiches. This is the same sort of thing, eh? Without the grease.

Saving Private Clinton

Something that occurred to me while watching "Saving Private Ryan" the other day: Here's Steven Spielberg, the premier baby boomer filmmaker, paying homage to our fathers, uncles, mothers and aunts, the entire generation thrown into the maw of World War II, and there's Bill Clinton, our first baby boomer president, embarrassing us all.

Doing a double take

Something we'd never seen before: At the intersection of Joppa Road and Falls Road, gateway to Green Spring Valley, two women in the same Jeep Cherokee, each of them talking on a cellular phone - not to each other, we assume. But you never know. Something we'll definitely order again: The cassoulet - amazing what these French can do with duck and beans - at Weber's of Boston Street. Something we heard: That some locals involved in film productions already have been hired for "Runaway Bride," the film that would unite Richard Gere and Julia Roberts for the first time since the 1990 blockbuster "Pretty Woman." I hear that "Bride" is due for an Oct. 19 production start here, though Greg Brilliant, spokesman for Paramount Pictures, called that talk premature. "It's too early," he said. "The studio hasn't announced the project yet." (Yeah, we know.) But Brilliant said "chances are good" the film will be made in Maryland. Here's hoping so.

Man seeks Baltimore family

Today, TJI extends the kindness of a stranger, one Raymond Connelly, who would like to get a large print of the photograph accompanying this column into the right hands. "I was married in May and my wife and I vacationed in Maryland for our honeymoon," Connelly writes. "On the last day of our trip, May 31, we stayed in Crisfield and took the boat cruise to Tangier Island. On the boat we met a family that had traveled from Baltimore to take the tour as well. They were extremely kind people and they had a little girl. I took a photograph of the little girl and her mother on the boat ride home. We gave the grandfather our address so they could write to me for the picture. [but] on the boat ride home he became ill and we believe he might have misplaced our address."

Or he might have just forgotten about the photograph.

We have it here. Give us a ring at 410-332-6166 and we'll get it to you, along with Raymond Connelly's address in Virginia. There's a guy who deserves a thank-you note.

Pub date: 8/31/98

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