Seal Beach, Calif.’s Salon Meritage closed its doors after a deadly shooting on October 12, 2011. But now, the salon plans to reopen after undergoing a remodel to give it a whole new look.
“Our vision is to create a fresh atmosphere where clients and stylists can feel at home,” says Cynthia Pastor, owner of Cynthia Pastor Design, who is spearheading the remodel.
Pastor is donating her design services to the salon for free and is doing the remodel at no charge. She began the project in March 2012 and will be with the salon through the re-opening. She has worked for Jim Watson and Judy Watson, owners of the commercial plaza where the salon is located, for the past four years and feels a connection to the area.
“I was so appalled and upset when I heard about the tragedy,” Pastor says. “I immediately offered my services pro bono to reach out to the surviving victims and community of Seal Beach by offering what it is I do best.”
The salon is being completely gutted and entirely reconfigured. The exterior, all around the plaza, is being spruced up as well. The salon will have a new palette of colors, textures, and surfaces as well as custom wall coverings, new tile, graphic designs, lighting, flooring, furnishings, and new signs for the windows. Pastor says the vibe will be elegant, glam, and fun.
Sandi Fannin, owner of the salon at the time of the shooting, lost her husband in the tragedy and has decided to turn over the salon and its day-to-day operations to her long-time colleague and friend Irma Acosta. Fannin has decided to return to the salon as a stylist, as has almost everyone from the original group of employees who survived the shooting. Fannin’s daughter Kelli Vasquez will be returning as well as the salon’s nail specialist.
Pastor says the purpose of the remodel is to draw attention away from the memories of the traumatic events that occurred there last year.
“Design allows us to look at the world with an eye toward changing it, making hope visible by creating a design that will reflect the courage, resiliency, and strength of the salon stylists and the community they serve,” says Pastor.