Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

May 31, 2005 > Martin's


Forty-nine years and counting... Martin's Hair Salon has been a Centerville business since March 15, 1956. Owner Dick Martin trained as a hair stylist and worked in San Leandro for 3 and a half years prior to coming to Fremont. When a high school friend who owned and operated a salon near Minerva's in Fremont needed to sell her business, Dick took over and opened Martin's, remaining in that location for about 5 years.

Always interested in new ideas and expansion possibilities, Dick began to look around for a larger and better location. After exploring several locations, the current salon property on Fremont Boulevard came up for sale and he bought it in 1960. He donated the Victorian home on the lot for a school called "Dawn School" for mentally challenged children and it was moved to a location near Thornton Avenue.

As his salon business expanded, Dick's entrepreneurial talents called to him and soon, not only was the salon prospering, but a thriving retail business of designer clothing occupied a portion of the building as well. With success in Centerville, Dick expanded to the Franciscan Center in Warm Springs and opened a third salon at the International Kitchen restaurant.

When property next door to the original Centerville location was offered for sale, Dick, whose business was bursting at the seams, was ready to buy. He needed more parking and additional retail space. Some of Dick's friends in the beauty supply business suggested that he consider offering high end cosmetics, hair care and beauty supplies to his clients. Again, Dick's entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and Martin's Beauty Supplies was born.

When Warm Springs Plaza was built, Martin's moved both businesses into the new center and did the same at Gateway Plaza on Paseo Padre Parkway. As a tribute to his mother, Shandra, two salons - Warm Springs and Gateway - were named Shandra's. When she learned of his touching compliment to her, Shandra smiled and humorously reminded him that he had not asked her permission.

Over the years, Dick has responded to changes in the city and the business climate. When the International Kitchen closed, Martin's left too. The Franciscan Center location was sold and Dick recently closed the Warm Springs store but is currently searching for a new Warm Springs location.

A portion of the Centerville facility was used for a nail salon, but soon Dick decided it would be replaced by a custom wig salon with a large inventory, private fitting areas and a well-appointed decor. He said that prior to creating the wig salon he had been "dabbling" in the business. Changes in the wig industry, modernizing styles, materials and workmanship convinced Dick that his years of experience in wig preparation and fitting would benefit a large group of people in need of these products. "The difference between then and now is like night and day," says Dick. "Wigs used to be like German helmets - hot and heavy without ventilation or adjustments. Now good quality wigs are a dream - light and airy using hand-tied monofilament."

Dick said that wigs began to climb in popularity as chemotherapy cancer treatments gained in effectiveness but bringing with them the side effect of hair loss. A cancer survivor, Dick knows about this first-hand and has a special place in his heart for those suffering from cancer and hair loss from any cause.

Hair thinning, balding and diseases that result in hair loss such as alopecia (hair loss) and trichotillomania (a nervous disorder) can affect appearance and self-confidence. Dick is able to supply information and confidential help for those with an interest in wigs and hair replacement products. Aside from medical reasons, advances in style and comfort allow customers to change hair styles, color, length and their overall look in a short period of time without spending hours in a salon. Fun styles and colors for parties are now easy to accomplish without drastic changes to an existing hairdo. Celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Cheryl Tiegg, Beverly Johnson and Rachel Welsh have also heightened the popularity of wigs by promoting their wig collections and using them personally.

Dick cautions that while many salons may offer wig services, these products need to be treated carefully. Often wigs and hairpieces are sold without personal contouring and require an expert to make them look natural to blend with facial features and existing hair. A specialist who has trained extensively in preparation and styling of wigs is essential to make them look natural and undetectable. He said, "Wigs make life easy for those who want to change their looks whenever they have a need or desire. Whether for medical, cosmetic or purely fun reasons, the only restriction is the imagination of the wearer."

Martin's large inventory of wigs and hair replacements for men and women is estimated to be the largest in Northern California. To make sure his clients receive the best advice and most up-to-date products and services, Dick attends several seminars a year. Dick said paying close attention to positioning, color, density and styling is essential to making a hairpiece or wig fits well. When it is, a wig is almost impossible to detect. Unfortunately, in some cases, people who style or cut hair and are untrained with little knowledge of wigs or hair replacement, may fit these products with disastrous results. Dick often sees the outcome as people who have unsatisfactory results elsewhere come to him to make things right.

Martin's has been helping Tri-City residents find the right item at the right price for almost 50 years. Courtesy and high quality products are Martin's trademark services where customers receive expertise and avoid exploitation. Come by and experience the Martin's difference.

Martin's Hair & Beauty Supplies
(Private Wig Room)
37211 Fremont Blvd., Fremont
(510) 790-7159

Martin's Beauty Supply
Shandra's Salon
39152 Paseo Padre Pkwy, Fremont
(510) 790-7166

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