After months spent renovating a building, finding the perfect chairs and styling products, Claudia Gordon didn’t know what to expect when she opened her new beauty salon in mid-April.

“It’s a small community, so I was hoping people would give me a try,” Gordon says.

A native of the Oaxaca region of southwest Mexico who married a La Center native, Gordon has always loved making people feel good about themselves. She graduated from the Vancouver Beauty School in 2010 and went to work for mainstream salons like Supercuts. When her husband, Kenneth Gordon, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, brought up the idea of turning their home’s attached storage unit into a small salon, Gordon was thrilled.

“I have two young children, ages 10 and three, so it is nice to be in business for myself and to be here for them when they need me,” Gordon says. “My husband helped me achieve my dream of having my own salon.”

The small salon space, located at 1506 E. Aspen Ave., about one mile north of La Center’s downtown area, is cozy and inviting. Gordon has set up two hair-washing stations at the back of the salon and has room for another stylist when business picks up. Along one wall, Paul Mitchell hair products peak out of a shelving unit.

Nearby, a sign shows Gordon’s prices – at $12 for a man’s haircut, $14 for a women’s haircut, $60 for coloring long hair and $8 for an eyebrow wax, her prices are lower than many salons in the region.

Gordon says she wanted to keep prices low for customers who may not be able to afford normal salon prices.

“I want the prices to be reasonable,” Gordon says. “I think I can help people that way.”

As a soon-to-be citizen of the United States – Gordon is set to take her citizenship test, the final piece of her citizenship journey, any day now – the new salon owner says she is grateful for the people who have helped her realize her dream of being a small business owner, especially her husband and mother.

“If I was to make a list and say thank you to everyone who has helped me get here, it would be a very long list,” Gordon says. “My husband and my mother, Elvira Diaz, would be at the top of that list.”

So far, business has been better than Gordon expected.

“I’ve had 30 customers (in the past month),” Gordon says. “They have given me a chance and I’m hoping they will return.”

If business stays brisk, Gordon can open up the second chair to another stylist. In addition to offering all types of hair services — cuts, color, perms, flat iron and specialty styles – Gordon also offers facial waxing for eyebrows, upper lip and the chin.

When she worked at Supercuts in Vancouver, Gordon has a loyal customer base, including a mother who brought her sons in for Gordon’s flat-top cut.

“She loved that I could do flat tops. She couldn’t find anyone who did them,” Gordon says.

Claudia’s Beauty Salon is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred. To make an appointment, or for more information, call (360) 903-8490.

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