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CWE's Coiffures By Shawn Moves Upstairs

Vacated space to be occupied by SubZero Vodka Bar expansion

SubZero is allowing Coiffures by Shawn to keep its ground-floor display window at 312 N. Euclid and is helping with the salons relocation upstairs. photo by Diana Linsley (click for larger version)
August 10, 2011
After 43 years on the ground floor in the Central West End, Coiffures by Shawn has moved upstairs to 312A N. Euclid Ave. The move, completed in the first week of August, makes it possible for SubZero Vodka Bar to expand into the hair salon's old space.

Gregory Smith, owner of Coiffures by Shawn, agreed to the move after a rent hike made it impossible for him to remain in the ground-floor space. The owners of SubZero, Derek and Lucas Gamlin, took the opportunity to expand their restaurant and bar from three storefronts to four.

"Small businesses are being forced out because only restaurants and bars can afford that kind of rent," Smith said.

Gregory Smith, owner of Coiffures by Shawn, moved his establishment to the second floor at 312A N. Euclid in the Central West End after a rent hike. photo courtesy of Gregory Smith. (click for larger version)
By expanding SubZero, 308 N. Euclid Ave., into the next storefront north, the restaurant is gaining about 1,200 square feet of extra space, said Derek Gamlin. The Gamlins plan to expand the dining area and install a state-of-the-art sushi bar, replacing the small one currently in the main bar area. In addition, the restaurant will build a new mixology chef's bar, featuring classic and specialty cocktails and vodka tastings.

SubZero already has started construction work, Gamlin said. He expects to open the new room by Oct. 1.

In addition to the "largest selection of vodkas in the world," SubZero specializes in sushi and gourmet hamburgers. A team from Guinness World Book of Records is scheduled to visit this summer to confirm that the establishment's more than 490 varieties of vodka is indeed the largest selection in the world.

SubZero, which was established in 2004, is open seven days a week and now offers a "late lunch" beginning at 2 p.m. weekdays. Weekend hours are 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays.

"SubZero has been really nice," Smith said.

The owners of SubZero are helping to ease the salon's relocation by paying for most of the renovation on the second floor and providing the signage directing customers to the upstairs shop, Smith said. In addition, SubZero is allowing Coiffures by Shawn to keep its ground-floor display window, which promotes the shop's Hair Emporium retail hair care products.

"We opened the Hair Emporium retail store in December and it's really taken off," Smith said. The emporium offers for sale DevaCurl, Matrix Biolage, Pureology, Crew for Men and other beauty care products.

Gamlin also plans to make Smith's customers comfortable in the new space. Clients can order drinks to be delivered from SubZero to ease the tedium of a perm or coloring, Gamlin confirmed.

One of Smith's greatest concerns is that the second-floor location will be problematic for his elderly customers. He has ordered a chair lift from a company in Highland, Ill., but the installation date is unknown.

Smith employs three regular stylists and one extra weekend stylist. Smith bought the salon from Shawn and Sylvia Salih in 1993.

After negotiating over the June rent increase, Smith and the landlord, Red Brick Management, a Pete Rothschild company, worked out a deal on the second-floor unit. Smith signed a three-year lease, long enough to take him to age 65 and Medicare. As a self-employed person with high health insurance premiums, "I have to work until I'm 65," he said.

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