That’s pretty much the philosophy behind one of Hailey’s longest-running sole proprietorships—and longest tenured members of the Hailey Chamber – Cari’s Hair Care and Day Spa.
“People can come in feeling depressed and down, but when they leave they feel good about themselves. At least that’s what we’re always hoping for,” Cari Larsen said, while we sat in the office of her Hailey salon.
“You want people to feel special. Life can be busy and hectic. That’s their time in the chair. You want them to enjoy themselves, and you want them to come back,” Cari said with a smile.
And coming back to Cari’s is something folks have long been doing. Some of her clients have been with Cari since she first started her own business, working out of her house in 1975. In 1977, Cari made what was then considered a risky move, she opened a commercial space in an old home on north Main Street.
“It was several blocks up from the main business corridor and people thought I would never make it. I was there for 36 years,” Cari proudly declared, about a building that she did a couple major additions to and now houses Wood River Dental. That section of Main Street is now full of successful businesses, while Cari’s Hair Care has moved across the street to Centennial Station.
Cari’s is a full service salon and spa, offering everything from manicures and pedicures, to facials, waxings and tanning, to hair cuts, styling and—what they’re best known for—coloring. People regularly walk in looking for help with coloring done at home or from another salon that isn’t exactly what they were hoping for.
“We can pretty much fix anything, so long as the hair is still on the head,” joked Cari, who is also a proud wife and mom to three grown sons.
Cari said that one of the big keys to her longevity has been her great staff: Krystal, Stacey, Mona and Shirley—who’s been working with Cari for more than 20 years.
“You’ve really got to enjoy connecting with people and making them feel good about who they are. And we try to do that,” Cari said, adding that, “The industry has changed over the years, but it’s still about loyalty and friendship.”