New salon owners return to their “roots”

Pictured top (l-r): Gabrielle Mancini, Sandy Murray & Cheryl Vaughn

Pictured top (l-r): Gabrielle Mancini, Sandy Murray & Cheryl Vaughn

Passionate, dedicated and committed are three words that perhaps best describe entrepreneurs and stylists Sandy Murray and Cheryl Vaughn, co-owners of recently opened Rootz Salon and Spa at 310 Third Street in California. They’re passionate about the comfort of their guests, dedicated to preserving the environment, and committed to their community.

When the two Brownsville natives decided to scout a location in which to open a full service salon, they looked no further than their backyards for both a site and a name.

“My husband is in the military, and we moved back [to Brownsville] about twelve years ago from Virginia. Sandy’s husband is retired from active duty in the Coast Guard,” Vaughn said.

“That’s how we got our name,” Murray said. “We came back to our roots.”

Selecting a location on Third Street in California, mere minutes from their hometown, seemed ideal, the pair explained.

“We rode through California, saw the building, and really liked the downtown feel. We thought it was a good location – a central location – to bring in people from the Valley and all the surrounding areas,” Murray said.

Though Murray and Vaughn both have extensive experience in the cosmetology field and had an established client base when they opened the salon, they initially weren’t sure how the community would respond.

“We just decided to give it a gamble,” Murray said. “We’re so glad we did. We love it here. The community has been very receptive and supportive.”

Prior to opening the salon, Murray and Vaughn worked together for about five years.

“We work together well, “ Vaughn said. “She has the same work ethic that I have and we just get along very well. Everything is about the business and the customer. if I’m weak at something, we offset each other. She’s my IT girl, and I keep everything in line as far as supplies. We’re a good fit for each other.”

Murray agreed, adding, “We just have the same big picture, where we feel that our guests come first. Their comfort is our priority. We try to make them feel special while they’re here. They deserve to be treated nicely… everyone deserves [to be treated nicely.”

Murray and Vaughn pride themselves on offering guests a “little extra” during appointments.

“When you’re a working mom or dad, and life is very hectic, we just take a minute and shampoo [your] hair and give them a nice scalp massage. [Guests] don’t expect it but they love it… it’s relaxing and calming.”

Guests have definitely felt special while being pampered at Rootz Salon & Spa, and have taken to social media sites likes Facebook to rave about the excellent service.

“Social media has played a big part in our success, I think,” Murray said.

Technology in general has helped boost business at Rootz. They have an active Facebook presence as well as a web site at where guests can schedule appointments.

“Also, we both have gotten a lot of texts, where people have said I love your salon, and thank you for opening it,” Vaughn said.

A commitment to excellence is another goal Murray and Vaughn share, and the duo is dedicated to continuing their education in the field of cosmetology. Since opening the salon three months ago, they’ve attended three workshops, both locally, in Pittsburgh, and in Virginia.

“We do a lot of continuous education,” Vaughn said. “It’s very important for us to stay on top of new techniques.”

“Everything is constantly changing,” Murray added. “You need to keep up. For example, Aveda is coming out with a skin care line in July, so that’s something we’re excited about.”

Speaking of Aveda, another common bond Murray and Vaughn share is a love of the environment.

“We use all Aveda products. That’s important to us because they are environmentally friendly and use recycled packaging. They try to bring the beauty industry and the environment together. For example, they’re one of the first companies to use wind power,” Murray said.

Guests also appreciate the fact Rootz uses only earth friendly products.

“I think now our guests are more conscientious about the environment, about what they’re putting in their bodies, and on their bodies,” Murray said.

Asked about challenges the pair faces as new business owners, Vaughn mentioned maintaining a balance between their home and work lives.

“Neither of us expected to do so well. We thought we’re going to have to built it. Well, it’s been busy since we got here. Our schedules are full,” Vaughn said.

So full, in fact, that they’ve recently hired a new stylist, Gabrielle Mancini. Guests who book an appointment with Gabrielle will receive a $5 discount on their first service.

To kick off summer, Rootz will offer a special package: a spa manicure, spa pedicure and spray tan for only $75. This offer is good until August 1.

In addition to hair cutting, styling and coloring for guests of all ages, Rootz also offers waxing, manicures, pedicures, and spray tanning. To schedule an appointment, call 724-938-3464.

Story by Carla E. Anderton for Pennsylvania Bridges