Name: Brittany Brown
Business: HepKat Clothing & Beauty Parlor
What they said then:
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In March 2010, HepKat Beauty Parlor was one of the businesses being displaced because a building on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo would undergo a seismic retrofit.
From 779 to 787 Higuera, the shops also included Amnesia, Decades and The Novel Experience. They expected construction to begin the following month.
Most planned to remain open or close briefly during the estimated 10 weeks of work. Decades, a vintage clothing store, moved a few blocks away, then closed in June.
HepKat and the others were facing an uncertain few months, hoping the financial impact would be minimal.
What she says now:
When Decades left, mother-and-daughter team Terry and Brittany Brown decided to lease its space.
The daughter oversees the salon. The mother runs HepKat Clothing. For nine years — until last month — her shop was around the corner on Marsh Street.
“We combined the salon and the clothing store into one location,” said Brittany Brown. “They can get their hair done and a dress to go out in.”
Promoting themselves as a “one-stop shop” for beauty, HepKat Clothing & Beauty Parlor also gained at least 500 square feet of floor space and storage compared to their separate shops.
They can carry more sizes.
They see more “crossover” business by offering vintage-style fashions, hair and makeup under one roof. HepKat specializes in 1950s-inspired classic styles.
The former Decades space wasn’t ready until October. Closed only seven days during the move, the salon minimized impact on its six stylists.
Moving has been a six-month project — so far. The ladies continue to spruce up their new location with its pink-and-gold accents and “classy glam rock” theme.
“It’s still our funky style, but a bit more vintage-inspired,” Brown said. “We hope to get everything finished and organized by the end of summer.”
They also plan to upgrade their website, which has been on the back burner while they help “customers here in front of us.”
Open seven days a week, they find it hard to make time. Brown said a website is important to maintain customers nationwide.
Some are tourists who’ve wandered into the store. Others the Browns encounter at out-of-town conventions such as the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender they attend in April.
Meanwhile, the building itself has become a customer attraction. Winner of a city beautification award, Brown said the architecture draws people through the doors.
“We really get a lot more street traffic,” she added. “We have a lot more exposure being on this street.”
— Raven J. Railey