After ten years at the corner of 300 South and 800 East, the fine and goodly folks at Dexterity Salon have packed up shop and moved eight blocks west. Now perched prettily at 35 W Broadway, the new space is a case study in maximizing on minimal square footage. Thanks to the vision of owners, Jeff Martin and Tara Southard [and a solid team of designers and builders that included Imbue Design and Sausage Space], Dexterity's new spot is a circular, cozy, modern, and perfectly buttoned-up storefront in a dreamy location. A lesson in less is more, and a bang up place to get your hair did. Our own Paul Svendsen spoke to Tara about the big move, the choices made, and plowing ahead…
Dexterity Salon | 35 W Broadway | 801.364.1420
Your circular, central work station is a pretty stellar solution to the challenge of running a busy salon in a small space. Communal and fun, with a touch of privacy, thanks to the pop-up mirrors. How did you land on that? Yes, the round table was always a central part of the original plans. After working in the industry for 20+ years, Jeff wanted to take an innovative approach to salon design. The inspiration for the table came from classic dressing tables and women’s vanities, steering away from the typical salon-station design with wall mirrors. We also wanted to enhance the communal feel of our new space. The original plans had the entire structure built out of walnut (which would have been gorgeous), but our predicted wear and tear led us to finish the table in black, leaving the walnut detail around the mirrors to add richness.
We COLLECTIVELY applaud attention to detail--your custom cabinetry and shelving, the killer light fixture, that fantastic little sign out front. Clearly a lot of thought and care went into the design and construction. Tell us who did what: Thank you! The overall design of our space was a collaboration between Jeff and Imbue Design. Sausage Space executed the construction of the space and Calls Design built the round table. Jeff designed the product shelves, Nash Martinez designed and constructed our copper chandelier (central light fixture) and our blade sign was designed by Scott Sorenson (Struck Design) and built by Brimley Neon.
You've only been in the new space for a few weeks. Tell us how everyone is adjusting…any surprises? Haha, yes, it took a couple of weeks, but I think we got our groove back! We had a glaring design flaw that we changed after the first week. It made perfect sense on the plans but didn’t work in real-space. After we moved the scheduling cabinet to the back, we immediately felt a better flow. I think the biggest surprise is the look on our clients faces when they walk in and see how far we boiled down our space! Our reservation office and break-room is on the 2nd floor, which is primarily how we were able to do what we did. We've had overwhelming feedback--both positive and constructive--that we continue to implement in our daily operations.
We particularly like that the entire Dexterity staff seems so nice. S'damn happy. Is that real? What are you serving? Honestly, it really is authentic and sincere. I think it’s just because everyone truly enjoys each other’s company (co-workers and clients alike)--combined with loving what we do. Most of our core staff has worked together for 5+ years (with a few coming up on 10), which builds some very strong bonds. This doesn’t mean that every single day goes without challenges, but everyone seems to have each other’s back, which helps get through the ‘hairy’ parts. This became the most evident for me after seeing how everyone came together to make this move happen. We all came through it with bravery and optimism, and it seems that we not only did it for ourselves, but for one another.
You and Jeff were the original founders of Caffe Niche, which was directly adjacent to your old salon space. Do you think you'll ever branch out from the salon business again? Caffé Niche was such a huge learning experience for us, and we met so many great people during our time there. Ultimately, though, we realized that the restaurant business is not for us. We have so much interest in downtown, especially since we own our salon and office space now, so if anything, maybe real estate ventures.
Dexterity now being a full-fledged member of the downtown business community and all, is there anything you'd like to see happen downtown? Change, growth, etc. Thoughts? We are very excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown and that new energy. Jeff is originally from Chicago, so the pulse of the city is a part of him. We would love to see SLC continue with its sustainability efforts and air quality solutions. Overall, we love the direction that downtown SLC is headed and can’t wait to see it grow in size, culture, charm and diversity!