River Falls salon offers hair, hearing help
Andrew Gott opened a salon on 703A N. Main St. two weeks ago offering what many people might see as an unusual combination of services: Haircuts and coloring, as well as free hearing tests and customized hearing aids.
"Communication is the pathway to success," said Gott last week, "Both modes of service help people to feel better and relate more positively in their social circles."
The hair and hearing expert lives in Minneapolis. He says he picked River Falls for a new-business location after analyzing western Wisconsin demographics. He estimates that people living here could benefit from both of his professional fields.
Gott says Andrew Salon will customize "your hair or your hearing."
Cut, color, creativity
Gott said he began working at a Great Clips in the Twin Cities during 1999, but it didn't feel like work. He had fun sharing his creativity with clients, and they seemed to appreciate it.
Wanting to learn and see more, he traveled and trained -- in Boston and Chicago, including programs with Vidal Sassoon and Mario Tricoci. Gott said he specializes in cut and color but does some styling and may add more services later.
The salon owner says he intends to stay flexible with his product line and learn what clients need and want. Gott likes and carries Wella products, including a new hair-color technology that creates "incredible shine."
Asked about his target market, Gott says it's wide open -- male, female, young, old. He's done his mother's hair for years and is comfortable doing any kind of hair.
Gott says his pricing does not reflect the worth of his services but the goal of building relationships and clientele. Some of his Minneapolis clients followed him to River Falls. He plans to create a comfortable environment for each client.
The salon features four stations, two shampoo sinks, overhead hair dryers, some hair products and a customized sound booth. Gott said as business hopefully grows, he'll have room to add another stylist.
Gott said, "We offer free hearing tests."
He clarifies that the salon is not a high-pressure sales place like some that offer hearing tests and hearing aids. For the hearing part of the business, Gott will work with his father, Mike, who has 40 years of experience in the industry.
Gott says years of experience tell them both that people must decide for themselves when the time is right for a hearing aid. Both recognize the delicate nature of hearing loss, as well as perceived stigmas attached to it.
The salon owner said he began helping around his dad's business when he was "knee high." He became so interested in the technology that he brought hearing aids for show-and-tell at school. Gott appreciated the mix of elements involving everything from the sound spectrum(s) and circuitry to electronics and integration.
The father-son team makes customized hearing aids and claims to do it for less money than going through a traditional manufacturer. They say both the fit and technology cater to the individual who needs it.
"We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on the hearing aids," said Gott.
He and Mike agree that the hardest step for people is coming to take the test, which generally take less than an hour. The salon appreciates appointments for the hearing tests but also welcomes walk-in clients.
Gott explains that the test is designed to expose any medical problems for which the person should see a doctor. It moves along to detecting hearing loss that may range from slight to severe.
He said it is gratifying when people tell him how nice it is to hear birds singing again or conversation in a loud restaurant or over the phone. Also, once somebody can hear well again, they want to maintain that ability.
The specialists nod knowingly that most hearing loss happens slowly and gradually. Most people don't realize the extent of the loss or may feel too awkward to admit they have a problem.
"The most important thing to do is to take the test," said Gott.
He and dad Mike emphasize the abundance of new technology for both hearing tests and aids, which continues evolving and becoming more sophisticated.
Gott said he enjoys both parts of his profession related to helping people enjoy a better quality of life.
Generally, he is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Sunday but plans to adjust hours according to clientele needs. Get more information and schedule appointments online at www.andrewsalon.com