People are known for telling their hair dressers everything. Not only does Alfonso Gonzales get to hear everything, he sees it all, too.
From his spacious, second-story beauty salon at the burgeoning CityScape development, the 38-year-old hair dresser has miraculous views of Downtown’s newest shops, restaurants, hotels and passersby of all walks of life.
Such is a typical day of work for the well-experienced professional who’s served as owner and director of Par Exsalonce CityScape Salon and Spa since it opened last August.
With a mission to provide modern, edgy hairstyles and a plethora of services ranging from waxing, manicures, pedicures and massages, Par Exsalonce CityScape’s popularity has been rising as quickly as Phoenix’s scorching summer temperatures.
“Every month gets better and better,” Gonzales said. “For some reason, we’ve been seeing a spike in customers the last couple of weeks. I don’t know if people are just out and about more or what it is, but we’ve been getting busier and busier.”
Gonzales said being situated in a chic and urban atmosphere such as the new CityScape project is likely a contributing factor for mounting growth.
“There’s nothing else like this in Downtown Phoenix right now. It almost feels like you’re in a different city,” Gonzales said. “With the mix of restaurants and shopping, I think the energy of the area is changing. You never really got that feeling before. We’re really thrown into the mix of things.”
While location plays a significant role in the salon’s growing success, name recognition, brand, unmatched creativity and unparalleled customer service all account for a rise in business, Gonzales said.
“Customer service is huge. It’s something our Scottsdale location thrives and excels on, and it’s really something we bring here,” Gonzales said. “Our motto is to make sure everyone feels like Madonna. Just that extra touch of talking to our customers, being friendly, catering to them and giving them tips and proper recommendations will set ourselves apart in making sure people feel special.”
Education for Par Exsalonce’s commission-based stylists and beauticians is also part of the overall experience, Gonzales said. Through ongoing training and a push for creativity, his staff is able to stay on top of the hottest trends, products and services.
“We’re about being a team here and making sure we’re all on board working as a single entity with meeting customer needs,” Gonzales said.
And when it comes to the summer months, there are plenty of unique needs that need to be met, he said.
“As far as Arizona is concerned, it’s all about moisture and protecting your skin,” Gonzales said. “People like to be outside, whether it’s swimming or sun-tanning or being out and about. Because of that, we stress the importance of sun block and sun-tanning products.”
For skin care, Gonzales said he recommends an array of moisturizers and skin kits available from the Dermalogica line and sold at Par Exsalonce CityScape.
“As far as hair is concerned, it’s about making sure you take proactive measures so your hair doesn’t dry or turn green,” Gonzales said.
Par Exsalonce’s signature Desert Hydration line will provide “the correct moisture and protein” for taking care of one’s hair, he said.
Though Par Exsalonce CityScape is considered to be an upscale beauty salon, prices for products and services can be afforded by anyone from corporate executives to college students, Gonzales said. Haircuts start at $45, and Arizona State University students receive a 20 percent discount when they bring in their student identification.
“We have created a destination in Downtown Phoenix which is like none of the others,” Gonzales said.
“This is a place that promotes and allows people to feel comfortable, a place where we can educate customers on the current trends and products available out there,” he said. “Our knowledge on what is going to be good for them as a person, from massage to nail to skin to hair, is going to create an environment that will keep people coming back for more – or, if they haven’t been, to hopefully check us out for the first of many times.”
Frank Morris can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frances Celebrates Success
In the last five years, Frances Vintage has found a secure home in the hearts, minds and closets of many a fashionista in Central Phoenix. It’s an eclectic little store that lives at Camelback and Central between Stinkweeds and Halo Precision Piercing and is home to funky accessories, clothes and gifts for women, men and kids.
While other indie boutiques around town shuttered their doors during the Great Recession, Frances Vintage thrived to the point of expansion.
Owner Georganne Bryant says, “We have such a loyal customer following from lots of local residents . . . They want us to be here and they get shopping local. And, we do what we can to keep things fresh for them.”
Moving on Up (or Down the Way)
One way they are keeping it fresh is by opening Frances Studio a few doors down in the former location of Red Hot Robot. The Studio space has been chopped in half with one side serving as offices and the other featuring an expanded selection of women’s shoe and accessories.
“But it could become anything in the future,” Georganne says. “The Studio will be different from time to time, like a pop up shop with no set style of merchandise. We’ll experiment. Maybe we’ll have a Christmas shop at the holidays?”
Frances Studio will also serve as a gallery of sorts and feature local art. Currently on display is a series of ‘quilts’ by Janet de Berge Lange that are fashioned from old zinc cans and adorned with power words spelled with letters salvaged from old signs.
Exactly what kind of accessories will steal your heart and your cash at Frances Studio? Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights:
For Your Feets
Adorable French tennies by Bensimon, plenty of Havaianas flip flops, Seychelles dress shoes and to-die-for vintage inspired pumps by Remix. (Note: this is the only place in the Valley you can get Bensimon or Remix!)
DPJ magazine’s June/July issue is hot off the presses and ready to celebrate a HOT summer. Pick up a copy at one of 300+ locations in and around the Greater Downtown area. Just a few of the issue highlights:
- Welcome | Meet Guest Editor David Leibowitz and read about his love of Downtown Phoenix
- All-Star BUZZ | Check out the rundown of MLB All-Star Week Festivities, taking place right here in July
- All-Star Regular | Read Leibowitz’s interview with Arizona D-Backs’ Luis Gonzalez and get his take on Downtown
- Paving the Way | J. Seth Anderson’s gets the scoop on a cool new parking lot innovation
- Core Values | Tazmine Loomans gives an account of her interesting conversations with the mayoral candidates
- Eats & Drinks | Justin Lee explores the core and more, helping identify the ideal culinary itinerary for locals and visitors alike
- District Beat | Courtney McCune takes the pulse of the city in a new section that celebrates the haps that make Downtown great
- Centerfold Map | Peruse a four-page, pull-out map and visit some new places on your next First Friday adventure (or any day of the month!)
- Stay up to date on all of the latest Downtown buzz and events, including Phoenix Convention Center’s record summer, the opening of the new Torch Theatre…and more!
If you haven’t picked up an issue, click below for an online view!
We Heart the Market
The Phoenix Public Market, with its twice-weekly, open-air markets and the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar, is a beloved institution in Downtown Phoenix. It’s all made possible by the companies and the people who make donations and grants to Community Food Connections (CFC), the nonprofit organization that runs the Market.
Bank of America Feeds Downtown Phoenix
One of the largest contributors to CFC is the Bank of America Foundation. A recent grant of $25,000 brought the bank’s contribution total to $135,000 over the last five years. The funds support CFC’s work with local micro-businesses (the market vendors and farmers) to combat hunger and promote healthy habits by making sure Downtowners have access to local, sustainable food. The grants have also covered some of the renovation costs for the building that houses the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.
Cindy Says Thanks
“We are very grateful for Bank of America’s continued grant support and confidence in Community Food Connection’s mission. We consider Bank of America to be a strong community partner that shares our belief in the importance of food sustainability through supporting Phoenix’s micro-businesses,” said Cindy Gentry, Executive Director, Community Food Connections.
Were you hoping to go to Coachella, but didn’t get tickets in time or can’t afford to go? No need to be upset!
Phoenix residents are very lucky to be so close to Indio, CA, because bands playing at this weekend’s festival are stopping in Downtown Phoenix beforehand and give us a little Coachella of our own.
Arcade Fire was the first band to kick-off “Arizonachella,” but now there are two free shows just in time for indie record shops’ favorite time of the year.
They are a young indie band with a sweet, soft ’80s sound. Fans of bittersweet pop will enjoy lead singer Kip Berman’s vocals paired with dream-like, distortion-filled rock chords (think My Bloody Valentine).
Saturday is Record Store Day, bringing not only sales and sweet deals, but also Portland-based Menomena, who will play a free show at Stinkweeds, along with What Laura Says, Kinch and a few other local bands.
Menomena started off making its experimental sound through the use of Deeler, a computer program co-founder Brent Knopf created. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the bizarre dynamic of the band. Band members are never together when recording a record — they send ideas and pieces through email, recording and layering their ideas as they go.
Their latest record, Mines, was released July 2010 with a new direction for the band, fueled by more of an instrument feel than the computer beats of previous efforts.
The second song, “TAOS,” is the loudest, most energy-charged song on the record. It starts with a hypnotizing beat then kicks in with the drums. The chorus builds up, leading to a soft piano with hymning vocals before bassist Justin Harris’ repeated climax of, “Cut my leash and walk away.”
The rest of the album takes it back a slew of notches to a slower tone, focusing more on the lyrics.
Shortly before the Coachella lineup was announced, Knopf announced he was leaving Menomena to focus on his other band, Ramona Falls. Remaining members Harris and Danny Seim will tour with a replacement in the meantime, but they assured fans that they didn’t lose their “Kurt Cobain” in a recent interview in their local rag.
Menomena plugs in at Stinkweeds at 1 p.m.
Revolver Records is located at 916 N. 2nd St. in Evans Churchill (light rail at Roosevelt station).
Stinkweeds is located at 12 W. Camelback Rd. in Uptown (light rail at Central/Camelback).