By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
Every hair salon has its devotees who swear by their stylists, and LuLu’s is no different.
Owner Jeanie Brakebill has one client who has been coming to her for 20 years since she was in beauty school; others followed her to her own salon when it opened 14 years ago.
But LuLu’s is different from the majority of Chattanooga salons. It is about hair, not about pampering; in some ways it helped to define the hip ethos of North Chattanooga denizens with its funky decor and folk art.
LuLu’s opened originally on Hixson Pike in Riverview in 1994 before moving to its Tremont Street location a decade ago. It was the first business in the now familiar corner shopping complex that Mrs. Brakebill owns with her husband Jeff (who is in the middle of rebuilding his restaurant Aretha Frankenstein’s).
Mrs. Brakebill said she wanted to own her own space for her shop. The couple decided to buy the whole corner so none of the neighbors could complain about having a commercial space next door.
Over the years, LuLu’s has become more of a cozy neighborhood hangout than a salon, even if half of its customers don’t live in the neighborhood.
“It’s a laid-back atmosphere,” Mrs. Brakebill said. “We’re a tight-knit staff, and there’s no drama. People that come here can feel that.”
Renaugia Allmon has been at LuLu’s since its opening, and Bryon Avery has been there almost as long. The walls of the shop are decorated with art by Mr. Avery, Mrs. Brakebill and other local artists.
Everyone knows everyone —; a client getting her son’s hair cut by new addition Mitch McGrath stops to ask Mrs. Allmon about her baby, due in July.
Mrs. Brakebill said she loves the fact that LuLu’s just offers hair care. After all, she points out, if one wants to be pampered, one can just walk around the corner to Skin & Bones.
Yet all the eight stylists do believe in pampering one’s hair. LuLu’s is the only Chattanooga carrier of the Italian Barex line and the full line of Phyto products.
The shop also carries Aveda but is discontinuing its other lines, Mrs. Brakebill said, to focus on the ones she thinks are the best quality.
The focus on quality —; staff, products and services —; is reaping benefits, and unlike some other salons, which have opened with hype and then faded away, LuLu’s is busier than ever.
“We’re the fullest we’ve ever been,” Mrs. Brakebill said. “We’ve got great stylists right now.”
E-mail Cari Gervin at firstname.lastname@example.org
LuLu’s, 517 Tremont Street, is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment. Reach LuLu’s at 267-7674.