Vines, mold and birds nests: Sacramento salon owners beautify a formally decrepit space
Hairstylists Paulo Arrabit and Ronny Veirs can see their salon from the front door of their home in Sacramento’s Tahoe Park neighborhood, but the two men didn’t move Medusa Salon to Broadway from its previous location near Town & Country Village because they wanted a shorter commute.
A graduate of Hiram Johnson High School, Veirs had passed the building where his business now is situated many times over the years. He said the structure was long home to a Swanson’s Cleaners, but it has also been a flower shop, a grocery store and most recently a salon.
Veirs and Arrabit said they had watched the building, still owned by the Swanson family, slowly fall into disrepair as they visited family in the neighborhood and eventually bought a home there. Veirs met Arrabit, a Colfax High School graduate, through a mutual friend about 30 years ago. They fell in love and have been united since. After practicing their trade for a decade or so, they bought a salon called Hair City and rebranded it as Medusa Salon.
However, Medusa lost its lease at 2550 Valley Road when the landlord decided to sell the building in 2014. When Veirs and Arrabit considered where to relocate, their eyes fell upon the structure just a block from their home. They had always admired the building’s architectural elements such as its curved portico, and they longed to see it restored.
“There was a creeping fig vine that took over the entire building and grew through that window,” said Arrabit, pointing to a pane on the building’s western wall. “Then it grew up on the ceiling inside here, and there were birds living in the vines and making their nests there.”
The most visible reminder of the building’s former heyday, Veirs and Arrabit said, were the glass blocks near the front door. Gone were the tall windows that once looked out onto Broadway. “They completely boarded them up and removed them,” Arrabit said. “We had new windows put in. Every surface in here, we touched in some way. It was a complete gutting and overhaul of the inside and outside of the building.”
The two men lease the space from the Swanson family, but they’ve funneled tens of thousands of dollars into improving the structure and opened up shop at 5800 Broadway last September. They’ll celebrate their one-year anniversary there from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday with the Tahoe Park Neighborhood Association, the East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and area politicians.
There were many challenges to getting the space improved, Arrabit said, and Councilman Eric Guerra pointed them in the direction of attorneys and other experts who helped them through the city’s review process. The two men ended up having “to do full-on plans and submit them to the city, and we had to go through that whole process,” Arrabit said. “It took much longer and was much more expensive than we ever thought it would be.”
Terrie Barron, who leads the board of the Tahoe Park Neighborhood Association, said she’s enjoyed looking at the improved structure but that she’s also appreciative of the civic spirit that Veirs and Arrabit bring to the area.
The duo have added two stylists and an esthetician at their site but still have space for five additional stylists. While the renovation had its share of challenges, Veirs and Arrabit said, they feel fortunate that many of their longtime clients followed them to their new location and neighbors in Tahoe Park also are coming to them for services.