Closer Look

Community care is culture at Sophisticut

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Deena Bouknight

While regular clients and walk-ins might find that Sophisticut Hair Salon and Day Spa on Depot Street in Franklin resembles other beauty services industry businesses, they soon comprehend its culture focuses regularly on charitable endeavors. Among the sundry hair supplies, hairstyle books, and beauty products might be a collection box, a donation bowl, or signage intended to support a community cause.

Early in January, a large box in the waiting area enabled anyone to drop off coats, blankets, food, and money for Cold for a Cause. Surrounding upcoming Valentine’s Day, Sophisticut is spotlighting a Let Love Grow fundraiser. The goal is to provide a plant three times annually to every resident of Macon County’s assisted living homes.

“Let Love Grow started at the First United Methodist Church in Franklin,” explained Sophisticut’s owner Suzanne Watson. “They had a kingdom assignment (about seven years) and David Beam [senior pastor] and the staff handed out $100 to everyone in the service. We were supposed to do something with [the money] and share what we did with it. My neighbor had just lost her spouse to suicide. God told me to buy her a tree. But, as I walked around [my yard], I also decided that I wanted to take succulents to people in nursing homes.”

SUZANNE WATSON opened Sophisticut in 1990 on Depot Street in Franklin.

Thus, Sophisticut’s current efforts involve taking donated funds and purchasing plants. In the past, the Sophisticut staff has delivered plants on Mother’s Day and between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, the first delivery will be on Valentine’s Day, with the two other annual deliveries planned as well.

“I enjoy seeing the smiles on people’s faces and spending time with them,” said Watson, about the experience of delivering plants. “Some of the staff and friends join me in spreading the joy and love a plant can bring. Let Love Grow is so important because there are so many people in nursing homes that need a little bit of love and attention.”

To encourage people in Franklin to donate for the Let Love Grow initiative, Sophisticut is offering a free one-hour hydromassage with any donation. People can visit the salon and drop cash and checks into a glass bowl. Extra monies purchase plants throughout the year for individuals receiving hospice care or who might be grieving the loss of a loved one.

Watson, who opened her business in 1990, has a goal of extending Let Love Grow into other parts of Western North Carolina. She would also like to gift people who have lost a loved one to suicide, with a tree – just as she did for her neighbor.

SALON MANAGER Alyssa Cloer recently accepted a Cold for a Cause donation from Victoria Reynolds.

Serving with a Heart

Sophisticut offers hair styling, nail care, facials, and massages in the same 3,500-square-foot location where it began 34 years ago. Salon Manager Alyssa Cloer credits a dedicated staff and supportive clients for business and community outreach success.

“As a full-service salon, it takes a village … our team works so hard to make sure that clients receive the best service,” said Cloer. “Suzanne’s love for people and care goes into everything that she does. She always has a smile on her face, and her laughter echoes through the salon. She is the heart of it all.”

THE LET Love Grow fundraising campaign underway at Sophisticut will provide plants on Valentine’s Day for residents living in Macon County assisted living homes.

Cloer noted that the combined expertise of Sophisticut’s staff of five full-time and three part-time employees provides exceptional knowledge to Franklin in terms of beauty care and treatments. One employee, Justina Guendulain, who is bilingual, “is an asset” for Sophisticut’s Spanish-speaking clients.

“All the ladies [employees] play such a vital role in our team, and the overall operation of the salon,” added Watson. “We are so thankful and grateful to have the team that we have.”

She also acknowledged the encouragement felt by her and the Sophisticut staff when the community steps up to support various efforts. “I love doing fundraisers,” concluded Watson, “and seeing people wanting to do for others.”

SOPHISTICUT HAS a full-time staff of five, including owner Suzanne Watson, (standing) and from left, Alyssa Cloer, Marcia Reeves, Justina Guendulain, and Carsyn Guffie.