Kelly Ashby is living a full-circle moment.
As an Oakdale High School Mustang she once traveled by the quaint craftsman house located at 517 West F Street on a regular basis. At the time, it was a salon. During the past three decades the jewel of the house has been ‘home’ to a number of businesses, including a dental office, as well as a clothing boutique.
In late Spring of 2015 however, thanks to a farfetched wish by Ashby, the home returned to a salon.
“I wanted this building forever,” she said.
How it came to be was a good twist of fate.
“My husband had said ‘we need a business,’” Ashby shared of a conversation between she and her husband earlier that spring. “I said when that boutique closes, we’ll put a salon there. Two weeks later, it came up for rent.
“I feel like I’m working in my house every day,” she continued, “so I’m home.”
Ashby has been a stylist for 24 years, 23 of which were spent in Modesto. She earned her license from California Beauty College in Modesto.
A job as a stylist was not always at the top of her radar, however. The salon owner shared that early on she contemplated between a career in nursing or hair stylist. It was a trip to a hair show, which motivated her to enroll at the Modesto campus.
“I met a guy and asked him how much he made,” she said of a trade show meeting. “He said $5,000 a week. I signed up for Beauty College the next week. This was just way more rewarding for me. I love it and I love my clients.”
The West F Street salon is home to two stylists, in addition to Ashby. The owner shared she’s experienced a bit of turnover since first opening her doors, which has been a valuable learning experience.
“I’ve just maintained this sort of by myself,” she said. “I’ve learned you’re better to have nobody than the wrong person.”
Ashby specializes in cut and color, however she shared she has built her business on ammonia free colors and hair lighteners.
“Ammonia smells and it’s a healthier approach,” she said. “We offer both, but that’s just my specialty.”
Justina Percey, the owner’s cousin, has been a faithful client since her beauty college days.
“I’ve been coming for 24 years,” Percey said, “and she always gives me something that works for me or sometimes better.”
“That is the hardest part,” the stylist confessed, “reading people’s minds … clients don’t always know what they want.”
“I joke that I can literally send Kelly my hair in the mail and it comes back exactly like I like,” Percey added. “She spoils us. She’s just that good.”
As a longtime client, who has stayed with her cousin regardless of her personal zip code or Ashby’s salon location, Percey shared the West F location is a special gem to visit.
“I love that it’s personal,” Percey said of the rooms separating the stylists. “It’s quiet and private.”
Salon Ashby hours are Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are on appointment basis. For additional information on services or to schedule an appointment, call 844-5519.