Tag Archives: style

Lia’s Hairstyling

8 Feb ??????????

Post written by Cyndy Graham
Lia’s Hairstyling has been at 107 North Main St. for 15 years. Lia and her daughter Luanda always keep their customer’s convenience in mind by scheduling walk-ins as well as appointments. Lia came to the US because she had family here. ??????????
First to upstate New York, and then, when Luanda was 5 years old, they moved to Blacksburg where her uncle was a student at Virginia Tech. Lured here by the small town atmosphere and good schools where Lia could raise her family, she started the business in 2003. Lia has been doing hair for many years, first in her native Brazil, and now in Blacksburg. After Luanda graduated from Blacksburg High School she joined her Mom. The salon also employs two other stylists.

They believe that what sets Lia’s apart from other salons is the décor, the quality of their work, and their inclusive mentality. I was struck by the large space that was decorated in a modern, but homey style. There are beautiful wood floors, and brightly colored oil paintings by Luanda’s brother line the walls. They told me they always strive to make sure the customer is happy with the salon experience. They are so warm and likeable, I’m sure this is the case. They told me they don’t cater to one specific kind of hair, and are very adept at doing all kinds, which adds an international element to the business. I felt very comfortable walking in and sitting down and talking, very much as I would in someone’s home.??????????

Most of their clientele find Lia’s from referrals from other satisfied customers. I first heard of Lia’s when a friend had a pink streak put in her hair for breast cancer awareness. This is the third year that Lia’s has participated in the event, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Relay for Life. Luanda was approached by a member of the Relay for Life team with the hair streaking idea, which also happened to occur at time where she was dealing with the recent death of her fiancé to cancer. Of course, Luanda and Lia were onboard and they tell me the response has been overwhelming. People who were not interested in getting their hair done have also used the event as an opportunity to donate. In order to raise awareness for autism, one client requested a blue streak! Lia and Luanda plan to participate twice a year, once in March and once in October.
Lia’s is more than just a hair salon. It is a home away from home, a way to contribute to a cause you believe in, and a place to meet new friends!?????????? ??????????

A Downtown Blacksburg Paradox Turns 40

12 Mar

When I turned 40 (I won’t tell you how many years ago), I understood firsthand why, for a time, it was known as “The New 30” (I’ve recently heard that that distinction now belongs to 60). It was liberating and empowering in ways I never imagined. I was comfortable and confident in my own skin. Like so many other invincible women before me, I never dreamed getting older could have so many wonderful fringe benefits. It seems a fitting paradox, then, that Fringe Benefit joins rank as it celebrates its own 40th birthday on March 18th.

Keeping up with the times

The Downtown Blacksburg women’s fashions’ mainstay has come into its rightful own in the capable hands and devoted heart of its endearing shop owner, Nancyne Willoughby, for the past 25 of those years.

“The original owner, Beverly Patterson, opened it as a natural fiber clothing store to combat the evil polyester of the ’70s,” Willoughby reveals.  “I thought the store needed a local owner after Beverly moved to Austin (Texas), so I wrote her a letter asking if she would sell the shop,” she divulges.  Two years later, Patterson conceded, and Willoughby bought the shop, as well as the name in September 1987 with then business partner, Judy Murray, who moved on in 1997 and now lives in Mexico.

“I shopped in the store while I was in college and enjoyed it. I never left Blacksburg after graduation,” says the arts-major-turned-shop-owner.  “We gave it a facelift and some love and expanded our market beyond students into locals and professionals.  We focus on personal service, and the store has evolved to keep up with the times,” according to the successful businesswoman, who knows every customer by name.

An Affinity for Giving

Every shopper gets 20% off on their birthday along with a Frequent Buyer Program, which has been a signature promotion for the past 16 years.  The loyalty incentive automatically entitles customers to 15% off every purchase beyond the first $350 through the following Labor Day, culminating in an annual end-of-summer, holiday-themed sale.

A Move in the Right Direction

In June 2004, Willoughby moved the shop from its original location on College Avenue, now home to Hokie Spokes, to its current location at 117 North Main Street between Matrix Gallery and Homebody.

“We more than doubled in size, increasing the space from 900 square feet to just over 2100,” she says.  “It was scary, because I had such a bigger space to fill,” she confides, “but I ended up overfilling it.”

Some of that additional space was filled with brand extensions like Ten Thousand Villages and Dansko shoes, which she has carried since 2004 and 2007, respectively, along with her most popular lines Cut Loose, Click, Habitat, Jag Jeans, Pure, Neon Buddah  “tons of accessories”, and a lot of stuff made in the U. S.

“I pick up new lines each season,” she adds, without being forced into playing favorites.  “I don’t know that I have one,” she says, genuinely torn. “It’s hard to decide.  I like a little bit of everything.  There’s something for everyone with jewelry from $10-150 and clothing prices that range from moderate to ‘up’.”

Stop by and check out the Spring 2012 collections, which feature a lot of green, perfectly coordinated with the shop’s day-after-St. Patrick’s Day 40th birthday.  While you’re there, check out David Nickerson’s original miniature, depicting Fringe Benefit’s place in Downtown Blacksburg’s history, on display behind the counter.

Help Make Fringe Benefit’s Birthday Wish Come True!

Looking for the perfect thing to get Fringe Benefit for its 40th birthday?  Lots and lots of likes on its Facebook page, which you can do by clicking here.  It only takes a minute and won’t cost a thing but will go a long way toward poising the shop for many years of continued success.

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