Former mechanic’s shop transforms into beauty salon

April Jones, at top, has moved her business, AJ’s Salon, to what used to be her husband Eric’s oil change garage in Saltillo. While you can’t get an oil change anymore, you can get a haircut and other salon services in the newly renovated and decorated space. (Lauren Wood)

April Jones, at top, has moved her business, AJ’s Salon, to what used to be her husband Eric’s oil change garage in Saltillo. While you can’t get an oil change anymore, you can get a haircut and other salon services in the newly renovated and decorated space. (Lauren Wood)

By Dennis Seid
Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Until a few weeks ago, the metal building next to the car wash on Pull Tight Road was a shop where people could get the oil changed in their vehicles or get some minor automotive repairs done.

The building is still there, as are the large garage doors on either side. But it definitely is not business as usual, and the clientele isn’t quite the same either.
Goodbye, Jones Quick Lube, hello, AJ’s Salon.

“We’ve changed it a bit,” said AJ’s owner April Jones with a laugh.

Gone are the oil-and-filter changes. In their place are haircuts, colorings, manicures, pedicures and other beauty-shop services.

The pits where mechanics used to climb down into are covered with a new floor. A drop ceiling has been added – along with much-needed air conditioning. Hair styling stations have been installed, as have wash basins and stations for manicures and pedicures.

There’s little evidence left of what the interior looked like a month ago.

“We started work in July to get it all finished,” Jones said.

And there was no interruption in business.

Jones had a regular day on Saturday, then moved the business within three hours after closing her shop in its former Town Creek location on Saturday. With the help of nearly two dozen family members and friends, everything was moved, installed and ready to go

“We were ready to open on Monday,” Jones said with a laugh.

SWITCHING GEARS
So why did Jones decide to move her beauty salon to an admittedly unusual location?

She knew the owner quite well – Eric Jones, her husband.

Eric bought the former Parker’s Quick Lube in 2007. But while business was decent, competition got tougher. Big-box stores, automobile dealerships and other area oil-change stores simply proved to be too much.

But Jones owned the building, so they decided to put it to better use.

“Instead of paying two mortgages and rent, we made the decision to cut out one of those bills,” April Jones said.

She admits she had a few reservations initially, but was convinced by her sister-in-law, Emily Floyd, that they could make it work. And Floyd knows a thing or two about decorating and design, Jones said.

“It came out better than what we expected,” she said. “It just all came together.”

The interior needed cleaning and painting, and a new floor had to be laid. Some of the old doors were kept. The old storage room where the oil was kept has been transformed into a break room.

Customers have been amazed at the transformation.

And Jones’ co-workers at the salon are quite happy to finally have the room they’ve needed.

“We were stacked up on top of each other at the old location,” said Kathy Kuykendall, who said she never had doubt the new place would work out just fine.

“I knew it was going to be beautiful,” Kuykendall said.

Cathy Miller, the other stylist, also thought it was a great idea to move into a bigger, better place.

“My customers love it,” she said.

And April Jones said there’s room for more stylists.

“It’s just the three of us – that’s all we had room for in the old place, but we can add three more,” she said.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com