Come in Feeling Blah – Leave Feeling Fabulous
by Kara Pound
photos by Brian Miller
It’s not even 8:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning and Panache is bustling with hairstylists, massage therapists, estheticians and nail technicians readying their stations. The receptionists are busy in the front making sure that appointments are organized and guests are greeted. It’s just another day at one of St. Augustine’s busiest salons.
With Kristy Weeks at the helm, Panache, an Aveda salon, has enjoyed longevity both unrivaled and admired. The locally owned and operated business celebrates its 30th Anniversary this June, a celebration that has Weeks filled with nostalgia and curious of the future.
“I can’t even believe for one minute that it’s been 30 years, and sometimes I feel like it’s been 300 years,” she jokes from her tiny office in the salon.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Weeks and her family moved to upstate New York where she graduated college with degrees in psychology and business. She always knew she’d return to the Sunshine State.
“My dad thought that I had an entrepreneurial spirit and we came down on my winter break and looked around at businesses that were available in St. Augustine,” Weeks remembers. “I moved back three weeks after graduation and purchased a tiny salon in the Hypolita Street building.”
Weeks admits that she didn’t know the first thing about running a salon, so she enrolled in nail and hair schools and set out to learn everything there was to learn. She was just 22 at the time. “I didn’t have a clue what I was doing,” she says. “But I was young enough and naïve enough to realize, which is probably a good thing.”
Weeks sold the building on Hypolita Street in 2009. She opened the beach location in 2006 and a Julington Creek location in 2011, which she sold to a longtime client in 2014.
With 40 employees, Panache at the beach fosters a close-knit family vibe amongst the staff, and Weeks considers herself somewhat of a den mother.
“We’ve all grown up together,” she says. “Many of us, myself included, have been here for a long time. Something that keeps us connected is the work we do within the community. I really, truly believe that giving back to the community that’s supported us for 30 years is extremely important.”
Each year, Panache puts on the popular Love Your Mother eco fashion show. Last year, the fundraiser brought in $68,000 for Home Again St. Johns. They are also involved in events like giving backto- school haircuts for the boys at St. Augustine Youth Services, and salon services to homeless women during Women’s Respite Day at St. Cyprian’s Church.
“We give, give, give, all the time and I’m definitely of the mindset that it’s more fun to give than to get,” Weeks says. “We help make people feel good. It’s instant gratification because people come in feeling all blah and then leave feeling fabulous and you make great relationships with people.”
Visit the Panache Salon website here or call 904-461-9552 to make an appointment.