At La Pomponnée: “We’ll doll you up.”

Kristen Peckich, owner of La Pomponnée salon on Washington Road, stands inside her adjoining business called MEC. Peckich is celebrating 30 years of business. /Photo: John Schisler

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, La Pomponnee, a full-service Aveda Lifestyle salon and spa at 659 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon, is committed to pampering its clients.

You can start with a massage, get a facial, move to the nail area for a mani/pedi, then have your hair and makeup done.

“I know when I go in there it will be a relaxing, enjoyable experience,” said Barb Dean, of Washington Road, a client since summer of 1993.

A lot has changed since 1992, when Kristen Peckich opened the salon.

Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, theme song from The Bodyguard, topped the charts. Crop tops, platform shoes, animal prints and faux fur were all the rage in the fashion world. Compact discs became more popular than cassette tapes—remember them? Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for the last time, and Bill Clinton was elected president.

In those 30 years, Peckich says the beauty industry has gone from small, independently owned salons to a time when chains started taking over, lowering prices and doing more volume. Salons in big box stores followed. Now, we’re seeing the arrival of subdivided salon suites.

Hairstyles underwent a pendulum swing from perms to smoother and straighter. Then hair coloring became popular, which didn’t mix well with perms. Now, salons are doing perms again. “Men’s perms are the hot thing right now. High school boys are getting perms,” Peckich pointed out.

Working with brides is a big part of La Pomponnée’s business. That’s how the salon got its start. Back then, it was located at 633 Washington Road, next to Tomasina Bridal.  At the time, La Pomponnée was one of the only places offering on-site bridal service.

Running a successful business for three decades has its challenges. Staffing is one of them. Peckich feels lucky to have 50 employees, with an average tenure of 16 years. “I think it’s the culture. The people that stay the longest like the family culture that we have,” she said.

Hayley Gbur, of Mission Hills, has been a client for more than 25 years and has used every service the salon offers. “She has a very talented staff in all those areas,” Gbur said. Gbur, who used to have her hair done in New York and Chicago when she traveled for work adds “Her stylists are as good as any of those places.”

Celebrating big milestones is one of the perks of working at La Pomponnée. When the first set of stylists celebrated their 10th anniversary, they were awarded a trip to Mexico.  Next January, two stylists approaching their 10th and 20th anniversaries respectively will celebrate with a trip to St. Thomas in the U. S. Virgin Islands.

“My plan for the future is to create a trust for my employees so that I can retire someday and the business continues in perpetuity here in Mt. Lebanon,” Peckich remarked.

La Pomponnée has a second location at 4137 Washington Road in McMurray.

For more information, visit La Pomponnée online.

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