By Tom Jordan
Over in the corner of the salon is an ancient perm machine with a tangle of about forty electrical cords dangling from the top. It looks like something that would be in a Frankenstein movie. As I’m getting my hair cut by Abby, I overhear the owner, Linda Kurz, explain its function to the woman whose hair Linda was styling right next to me.
“Oh, that old monstrosity? They called it a “pocket perm.” They would roll your hair up and hook each braid to one of those wires, turn the juice on and it would curl your hair. But it was so damaging that after your perm your hair would fall out in clumps. You were supposed to put those clumps of hair in your pocket.”
At this point I had to join the conversation. “Are you serious? I added. “Who would do that?”
Linda responded, “Throughout history people have always done crazy stuff. Especially when it comes to trying to improve their appearance.”
Option Hair Studio, which began about twenty years ago in this location on Louisiana Street in Sturgeon Bay, is run by Linda and her husband John. In addition there are two other stylists, Abby and Cassi. But besides providing incredible haircuts, colors, manicures and pedicures this one-hundred year old building is almost a museum for hair styling.
“I just stated collecting things years ago and people added to that collection,” said Linda. That, plus the art deco couches and chairs around every corner makes the entire salon feel like a cool, funky mixture of nostalgia and that old show “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”. Each stylist has an antique credenza and mirror. Old hair dryers decorate the shelves. You can find boxes with old hair-care products. Of course the salon is completely up to date and filled with all the latest products and potions but seeing all the old stuff creates a special vibe.
“We get comments all the time from people who come in our shop,” Linda offered. “Some of them even ship us some stuff they found antique hunting.”
I started coming here about a year ago. I had been going back to Milwaukee, even though we moved up here full time five years ago. It was my wife’s suggestion. “Let’s see,” she began, “you have your doctor up here and your dentist up here and you drive all the way to Milwaukee for a haircut?”
Good point. And I’m sure there are plenty of other great places throughout Door County. But how many have a bright red barber chair with a booster seat?