Fantastic Sams began in July of 1974, when Sam Ross opened his first salon in Memphis, Tennessee. He began franchising in 1976 and today Fantastic Sams is one of the world’s largest full-service hair care franchises, with more than over 1100 salons located throughout North America.
The Washington Plaza El Cajon salon is the newest of four locations open in South and East San Diego with another five to follow. The San Diego county Region has a total of 34 locations. The salon opened on June 13 under the general management of Lisa Johnson and aid from FranVest, a startup funding provided by FranVest management of Orlando, Florida. Through its network of foreign investors 24 salons have been funded this year with an additional 30 salon locations planned in 2016. This program has helped generate 500 sustainable jobs in the United States.
Johnson opened the El Cajon location to better serve the El Cajon community with Fantastic Sams’ expert stylists and affordable service to residents. A previous owner of a Fantastic Sams’ location, Johnson has been with the company for 25 years.
“I was an owner of my own salon, but now I’m a general manager,” Johnson said. “I’m not a stylist. My strength is in management so I was brought on to manage multiple locations, four now and soon two more. I was also part of the design process of this salon. As the franchisee’s representative I did site location, worked with the space planners on designs and the contractor from beginning to end, hiring staff, training, and then on the grand opening.”
Salon manager Carrie Knightwalter has been a stylist for 11 years. She has spent her career managing chain salons. She joined Fantastic Sams in January of this year.
“I’m a people person, I like to talk, I like to be creative and in this industry that’s exactly what you do,” Knightwalter said. “You meet all kinds of different people every day, so there’s no monotony in the job. The hair styles also continue to change so that’s interesting and fun as well.”
Because hairstyles tend to change, as do customers desires, stylists can face continuous challenges.
“Our goal is to make every guest happy with our services when they leave,” Knightwalter said. “Occasionally, it’s a situation of no matter what you do it’s not good enough. But you never know what a person in that chair is going through. They could be struggling with severe problems. So when we see customers leave with a smile on their face it’s very rewarding. Children can also be a challenge but we just try to make it fun for them, and over the years I’ve found ways to keep them entertained and feel like a part of the process and comfortable. ”
Keeping a business thriving is a basic task for those in charge, and Johnson has those tasks well in hand.
“We advertise, coupons, mailers, radio, TV and I physically go around to businesses to develop relationships so we can work together, go to schools and overall give back to the community. That’s my job as the general manager; then it’s the stylist’s job to get the customers to come back,” Johnson said. “We offer an email program, rewards program, specials for returning guests, and focus events. Right now that’s “Back to School” Our Fantastic Sams Shampoo and Conditioner Liters are two for $20 and kids haircuts for $5.99 through the end of August. Adult Haircuts during Grand Opening price is $9.99, regular price eventually will be $15.99. In October we will run a color special and so on through the year.”
Fantastic Sam’s services include haircuts for adults and children, color services and special occasion styling, conditioning treatments, texture services and facial waxing. In addition Fantastic Sams formulates and sells its own line of styling aids and products including Fantastic Sams brand shampoos, conditioners, pomades, gels, styling foams and sprays.
“We value our stylists, and because we’re a national brand name we work hard to get customers in. We offer ongoing education to our stylists. We have a full training center in Kearny Mesa with ongoing educational programs every month that furthers them along with their skills.” Said Johnson.
Over the years, Fantastic Sams’ salons have earned a reputation for providing quality hair care services for the entire family. Their goal is to provide guests with unexpected quality, service, and style, at a fantastic price.
The El Cajon-Washington Plaza Fantastic Sams is at 755 Jamacha Rd, (619-588-0950) and open Mon. - Thur 9 am. - 7 pm.; Fri. 9 am. - 8 pm.; Sat 9 am. - 6 pm.; Sun. 10 am. - 5 pm.
Janine Rego and two other artists recently pooled their talents and love of vintage items to open the Thank You Dear Heart Vintage Shop on Main Street in El Cajon. The artists are also members of The Local Mercantile Shop, the big red barn on East Main and Los Coaches Road, and decided to open a place where Rego could do workshops with her chalk-based paint, one of the latest decorating trends.
“I started doing workshops over there in the patio, but at night or when it rains I couldn’t have workshops,” Rego said. “At first this store scared me as I only wanted a workshop, but when my friends, Dave and Pam Nutt, Marilyn Petersen, Dana Andersen and Carole Matteson chimed in, ‘let’s do this together;’ it came to be.”
It was about six years ago when Rego, who loved antiques and vintage things, started buying things at different venues and occasionally selling something on Craig’s List and flea markets.
Her business grew, especially with the items she would re-create with the chalk paint. A little touch up here or a complete redo on a piece of furniture and Rego realized, “Hey, I can do this.”
Rego and her husband Mike are always looking for new items. They have a grown son and daughter, who like to keep a look out for treasures for mom’s shop. Rego chose the name for her shop because, “I’ve said that to people all of my life.”
“Mike has a good eye for picking up items and turning them into terrific pieces like shelves or doors that sell rather quickly,” Rego said. “There are many people who have garages full of items to get refurbished or refinished. We’re open three days here, but people can usually find me the other days at the Mercantile.”
The store has vintage and antique items of all different kinds from beer bottles to baby items; unique older window and door frames creatively redone, cabinets, porcelain and collectible dishes, a former accessory cabinet redone by Mike, window framed art and many other unique items.
Rego is often asked the difference between Vintage and Antique but says it’s mostly in the eye of the beholder. Some sources insist that an antique must be at least 100 years old, while a vintage item can be from virtually any decade or era. A 100-year-old couch might be described as antique furniture, but an Art Deco couch from the 1930s would be considered vintage. One difference between vintage and antique appears to be the perceived relevance of the item. A horse-drawn wagon from the 1880s would be considered an antique, since it exists primarily as a relic of a bygone era. A restored 1957 Chevrolet convertible would most likely be described as a vintage car, since it is evocative of a specific era and still has a considerable number of collectors today.
“The customers we attract are different according to our partners,” Rego said. “Dana is very colorful, French romantic, country, which some call shabby schick, but its’s pretty in pink and purple and lace and sells very well. Marilyn has a lot of antiques. Carol is really into country. Dave and Pam find the most interesting collectables and sell the most items; with many asking “what is it and where did you get it?” My stuff is all over the place because I’m really into the painting. I use paint that’s chemical free paint from the American Paint Company because they offer an all-natural, zero VOC, eco-friendly, and solvent free paint and finishes. I recently earned the # 10 spot on best sales from the company and they are putting in a full page ad in Flea Market Design magazine of their top ten sellers.”
Because her shop is right in the middle of where the weekly car show takes place, Rego also consigns to car drivers who bring in items to sell; like Mark Lueck, known locally for his art and pin striping of cars, who does the framed window art. Rego is eager to meet new customers who love what they have in their shop.
For any female who has gone to their closet, pushed aside all of those clothes that used to fit and still not found something appropriate to wear, Sentimental Fashions in El Cajon is an easy solution to both problems. Crissy Sorisho, owner of Sentimental Fashions has made an art of taking one person’s discards and turning them into another’s exciting new fashions. In 2009 Sentimental Fashions was voted one of the top five vintage shops in San Diego.
Sentimental Fashions opened in 1987 as an affordable boutique. Sorisho was a customer who was unhappy working in the mortgage business and decided to be a stay at home mom. “I was looking for something that I would enjoy and also bring in extra income,” Sorisho said. “By the grace of God, I found Sentimental Fashions and purchased it in 2006.”
One step inside and the image of a thrift store immediately disappears. The store specializes in new and like-new fashions and accessories that shout glamour, success, fun, and a place to find anything a shopper would want. From sportswear to evening gowns, jewelry to hats and shoes that look runway ready, there’s something for everyone and every size.
“We work on consignments,” Sorisho said. “Anyone with gently-used items should call for an appointment, and then they can bring in items appropriate to the season for me to look through. Over the years we all change in size, age, style, so it makes sense to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I feel every piece is a treasure so I take time in choosing what I accept. Don’t clean items first because it may not be something I want to take in.”
Once an account is opened for the consignor, the clothes are prepared, tagged and hung – ready for sale for a period of 90 days. Consignors receive 40 percent of the selling price if the item sells within the first 30 days. Unsold items remaining in the store beyond the initial 30 day period receive additional discounts. Consignors are paid in cash or store credits, and it’s the responsibility of the consignors to check their account balance. Unsold items remaining beyond the 90 day period are donated to local battered women’s shelters and other charitable organizations. Sorisho offers specials such as $5 off $25 or more. She’s also an Avon representative, and customers are welcome to come in and try product samples.
“When considering consignments I make sure the seller is really ready to “let go” of the items, Sorisho said. “Sellers need to understand if the items don’t sell, they will not be returned. But bringing their items here serves several purposes. It’s very cathartic to clean out those drawers and closets and move on. Sellers can earn good money, depending on how much they bring in and the more the merrier. I’ve had customers walk out with hundreds of dollars.
The store is full of fascinating items – dresses, blouses, jeans, professional attire, hats, purses, jewelry and accessories. Every¬thing from elegant, to business to causal is expertly picked and displayed by Sorisho. “That’s another of the jobs I love about the shop,” she said. “I’m very into design and making sure everything from vintage and retro to up-to-date fashions is properly displayed. We get women from late teens to 99-year-olds as buyers and sellers.”
Sorisho knows her trade and has a passion to serve it well. Her family often helps. Her husband was instrumental in helping to get her lease negotiated. Her 8-year-old daughter Sophia loves to come to the store, and her 74-year-old mother helps from time to time. As customers come and go Sorisho greets them as an old friend whether a returning customer or someone new. She’s all about giving back and very nurturing as proven on one of the days I was in the shop. Peggy Jo Balentine makes routine visits from Julian to get discards from Sentimental Fashions to give back to her community. Balentine brings bakery treats and candles as a gesture of kindness to Sorisho. “Camaraderie is a big part of our business here,” Sorisho said. “I’m blessed, and if I can pass that feeling on to others, it’s a great day.”
Local feed store strives to meet the needs of pet owners by Debbie Norman
Got pets? Then East County Feed is the place to go. Whether it’s dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, goats, genuine pigs, pigs, cows, llamas, birds (wild or domestic), poultry, coy, etc., chances are, the food and supplies needed will be found here.
George and Marty Barnard have lived in East County since 1964. Longtime animals owners and lovers, they decided to open East County Feed in January of 1999. Since that time, their business has grown from a feed store, to a full supply store complete with horse tack, pet toys, wormers, grooming supplies, vitamins, minerals, pest control products, crossover (human/animal) shampoos and creams, buckets, carts, rakes, fencing supplies, troughs, stall mats, pipe corral panels and the list goes on.
Marty Barnard keeps current with feed products. “We try to keep current with pet health issues and make every effort to match feed with the customers pet,” Barnard said. There are so many products on the shelves of her store, the choices could be quite confusing. But answers can always be found with her knowledgeable staff: Scott, Dennis, Dale, Brian and Bobbi; always there with a smile ready to help answer your questions.
Along with the tack, Barnard offers consignments for folks wanting to sell their own items. She also has catalogs on hand for orders of tack and supplies she might not have currently in her store. “I can get almost anything ordered for customers. We have many catalogs for customers to look through,” Barnard said.
Barnard offers another service not offered by many, leather repair. She repairs items right there in her store from saddle parts to boots at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy new. “Customers are looking to save money and repairing instead of replacing can really help,” she said.
The Barnards buy their feed in bulk, which gives the customers the best products for the fairest prices. Walking around their store, the products seemed endless. Inside the main building are the pet products and feed, outside in large storage buildings are livestock feed, wood shavings, fencing, saddle racks, dog houses, rabbit hutches and so much more.
When it comes to owning a pet or livestock, it is worth a trip to check out East County Feed. East County Feed is located at 10845 Woodside Avenue in Santee, just west of the Hwy. 67 bridge . For more information Marty Barnard and her helpful staff can be reached at (619) 562-2208.
Editor’s note: Check out East County Feed’s ad and weekly coupons on the ‘Best Friends.’
Marty Barnard works on leather repairs. Photos by Debbie Norman Dennis is ready to help. Bridles, halters and leadropes. Dog houses and rabbit hutch. Shelves lined with supplies.
Kamps Propane a real neighborhood asset By Diana Saenger
Kamps has been serving the EastCounty residents with propane deliveries since 1969. John Kamps started the company in the San Diego area before moving the headquarters to Manteca, California. Each of the individual branches of the company is operated like its own headquarters, with a manager, training and a full range of propane services and technical expertise on propane applications.
Propane, a by-product of the gasoline refineries, is a green fuel with a low carbon footprint and one of the cleanest of fossil fuels. The Environmental Protection Agency has deemed propane an attractive option for avoiding greenhouse emission in nearly any application.
Working with propane is not a job to take on lightly. There are federal, local and state requirements that must be constantly met. Craig Linden, Kamps manager, works with the San Diego County Hazard Materials Divison on a regular basis in regards to the chemicals the employees use. Handling a hazardous material requires drivers to pass a test about Federal Hazmat regulations and become a licensed commercial driver with special permits to carry and use a hazardous material.
In addition to home and business delivery, Kamps fills 100-pound cylinders for consumers and also sells those cylinders through the local service stations. They also carry a range of propane-powered equipment and appliances. Federal tax credits under the Economic Recovery Act have up to $1500 tax credits available for home energy improvements.
Some companies run their vehicles on propane. Linden, who had prior experience with propane, is an inventor and earned a BA in Business Administration from San DiegoState, oversees the operation at the Alpine facility. “We have six delivery vehicles,” he said. “At one time propane was a popular vehicle fuel and that is coming back. We have two trucks that run on propane and two more ordered.”
Because of the economic situation Kamps has been more flexible with customers feeling the crunch. “We’re happy to take calls from customers who need adjustments or are concerned about problems,” Linden said.
Kamps offers new customer specials, incentives to switch from another company and several plan options. These include:
* E-Z saver plan – calculated over a year and divided into 12 monthly payments * Credit Challenged – Will Call when needed and pay at that time * Senior Discount * Electronic Reader Discount
“The Electronic Reader is the new SMART System that Kamps has spent nearly $3 million to implement,” Linden said. “It’s a meter that goes on the tank and displays the Tank Fuel Level, Outside Temperature, Inside Temperature, and the Time, and we can read all of that remotely.”
The system can also send an immediate alert for Low Fuel Level, Unusual Usage and Low Inside Temperature. There’s no cost to the consumer, and customers who elect to have the new SMART system will have a $.05 per gallon discount on all propane purchases for using the system. Kamps expects the system to be fully deployed within this year.
“This has come about because John Kamps is very progressive about his business,” Linden said. “While some companies are still stuck in the same technology they had 40 years ago; that’s not his method. The company is family owned, but if he sees a way to improve the company or the product, he goes for it. We have 12 employees who because of Kamps’ standards, share a positive attitude which makes for a great working relationship overall.”
John Kamps has seen a consistent growth in his company which he attributes to good managers who focus on customer satisfaction. “We're right here, and we're ready to earn your business every day,” the company bio states. Linden said this is something he learned in college and now puts into practice as a Kamps’ manager.
“I’ve learned how important the customer is and how important it is to maintain good relations with them and respect them as consumers and our customers,” he said. “I think in the past few years our focus on this has created a great customer base and a great team.”