The Shop: Petaluma Stylists

Photo by Daniel

Sean Donlan and Lucia Garay

Tucked away in the bustling metropolis that is Petaluma’s Kentucky Street is a quaint looking hair salon simply called, “The Shop”. 

A defining landmark of the city, The Shop carries all of the old-school nostalgia and affectionate eccentricity that is defining quality of downtown Petaluma. 

The hair salon is an unconventional blend of modern beauty parlor and handcrafted metal art. The careful details that comprise the personality of the interior of the building immediately spark curiosity in any casual customer who walks in

The familiar atmosphere combined with the artistic yet rustic ambiance makes The Shop a remarkable collage of creativity and community. As a remarkable landmark in the beloved downtown setting, The Shop has distinguished itself as a mix of past and present, nostalgic and eclectic, art and function.”

for a haircut or a styling. 

At The Shop, the devil is in the details. Breathtaking metal work can be seen in a giant iron sign above the entryway, in a live sized metal gorilla in the widow, in a frame around the tv, in a bomb-shaped chandelier, in a sculpted metal skull. The wall is plastered with a whimsical collage of images, polaroids, and cutouts from magazines. Traces of Petaluma adorn the empty spaces through the rooms. References to the city’s most iconic murals can be seen on the banisters and molding. A painted piano sits in the window beneath a sign boasting The Shop’s walk ins welcome, no-appointment policy.

The Petaluma location was opened eleven years ago. According to Eleni Webber, who is a hair stylist at The Shop, the original opening was in Seattle, Washington.

“The Shop originally started in 2000 in Washington and we have been here in Petaluma since july of 2011,” said Webber. “[The Shop] was started by Eric Clark. His cousins, Dustin and Kevin Clark, are the ones who own The Shop down here in Petaluma.”

Kevin Clark is responsible for the unique decor within his establishment. He is an artist and designer based in a warehouse in East Washington. He is best known for his Flower Tower, two Winged Lions, a Medusa head, and a Rhino Car. He often brings all of these creations to the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert.

“Kevin Clark is one of the owners and he is also a local artist so he built and designed the interior,” said Webber. “With all those burning man sculptures you can kind of see his influence here.”

Another draw of The Shop is the unique and convenient walk in policy. Another stylist named Joey Zappelli remarks that the policy can sometimes make his work complicated.

“I would say [the most difficult thing is] keeping our list of clients together, and making sure everything goes well,” said Zappelli.

The practice of not accepting appointments exists to try to get people to spend time on Kentucky Street and in the local businesses. It also creates a more laid back environment, because not having appointments ahead of time allows customers to have a more relaxing experience while they wait and as they are getting their haircut.

The familiar atmosphere combined with the artistic yet rustic ambiance makes The Shop a remarkable collage of creativity and community. As a remarkable landmark in the beloved downtown setting, The Shop has distinguished itself as a mix of past and present, nostalgic and eclectic, art and function.

Despite the tumultuous and chaotic management policy, Zappelli and Webber both enjoy their work at The Shop. 

“I would say all the employees [are my favorite part]. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and we have different tastes, we all have different education,” said Zappelli.

“I love working in downtown Petaluma, we have great clients, and I love my coworkers. I also like that we don’t take appointments,” said Webber. “The design and decor of the shop is really cool. Working somewhere where one of the owners is an artist and [The shop] is kind of like his canvas [is amazing].”