The Rapidian

Beauty salons making over the city

Three salons in the area that offer great customer service, and give back to the greater Grand Rapids community.
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Price Guide

 Douglas J

  • Haircut- $16
  • Color- $37
  • "no tipping" policy

Echo Salon

  • Haircut- $30 and up (women), $25 and up (men)
  • Color- $50 and up

Écouter Salon

  • Haircut- $35 and up (women), $20 and up (men)
  • Color- $55 and up


/Nikki Moisan

Choosing a beauty salon in downtown Grand Rapids can be a daunting task. In the half-mile between Sheldon Boulevard and Ionia Avenue alone, there are several to choose from. I spoke with upper management in three of these businesses to get a better handle on who they cater to, and what I found was pleasantly surprising. Not only do these salons work hard at enhancing their customers’ inner beauty, they also work at improving the city overall.

Écouter Salon

I spoke with Lauren Cole, owner of Écouter Salon on Ionia, to see what she had to say about her business. She takes great pride in her salon’s customer service. She states, “You can get a haircut at any salon. We want you to have a good experience.” With special event styling that she calls “Celebration Styling” it is easy to see how serious Cole is about great customer care.

First time guests are automatically enrolled in the salon’s guest rewards program, which is a point based system that encourages them to come back. After accumulating a certain number of points, they receive a gift card that can be used for services or product purchases at the salon.

What really stands out, however, is the effect the salon has on the surrounding community. Écouter will be participating in a “cut-a-thon” this April for Paul Mitchell. The proceeds of the event will be going toward animal shelters in the surrounding area.

Douglas J

On Commerce Avenue, there is another business that follows a similar practice. Douglas J is an Aveda-based learning institute that operates like a salon but has students doing the styling. Peter Eichler, from the corporate office, makes sure to clarify that customer service is key, especially for a teaching salon. He states, “Guests are treated like kings and queens. We offer free hand and arm massages or free stress relieving head massages with first time services.”

With haircuts at a flat $16, Douglas J is a perfect choice for students or others in a lower financial demographic. But the institute also stresses its strong tradition in giving back the greater Grand Rapids community. This year alone, they will be participating in Laugh Fest, the Relay for Life, and the 5/3 Bank River Bank Run. So while the affordability may be a large drawing factor, it should not be forgotten that this business is also a huge supporter of the events in downtown Grand Rapids.

Echo Salon

For yet another option, Echo Salon on Sheldon Boulevard offers its unique services. Owner Brandi Rinehart states that her business is different because, “We cater to all types of clientele. We offer a more edgy feel than others in the area.” While guests of all ages come to the salon, it is the guest looking for individuality that will be happiest at this salon.

When asked about the proximity to other salons in the downtown area, Rinehart states, “The more business, the better we’re going to try to be. We just want anything that will bring more people downtown.” To stay competitive the salon offers a 30% discount for new clients through

So while the possibilities may seem endless, the downtown area of Grand Rapids offers salons to suit all needs. More importantly these businesses are all doing their part to give back to the community. Through beautifying people, these salons are able to also beautify our city.

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