East Liverpool Salon Opens after Owner Overcomes Delays

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Opening her new beauty salon in an iconic round building downtown was not easy, but with the help of family and others, Jessica Ludwig persevered, and the doors are now open at Edge Hair Studio, 125 E. Fourth Street.

“I was so frustrated, I almost gave up,” the owner of the former First National Bank building admitted following a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of her new business.

Having rented space on St. Clair Avenue in Calcutta for the past six years for her salon, Ludwig had been looking for a spot to call her own when she learned the unusual downtown building was available after having been vacant for 20 years. 

Located close to Umbrella Alley, a new tourist attraction for the city, the property is also in the heart of the area city officials have been focusing on for their economic development plans.

After receiving approval last April from the city Design Review Board, Ludwig started the process of transforming the former bank building into a beauty salon.

Her first move, as required by state code, was to hire an architect. Or so she thought. 

After spending six months designing plans, reportedly telling Ludwig, “I’m gonna get you through this – women supporting women, you know,” the architect turned out not to be what she seemed.

When the plans were submitted for state approval. Ludwig was advised the woman she hired was not a licensed architect but an interior designer and did not have the licensure needed to design her business. 

Ludwig said when she submitted her plans to the state, “the woman there told me, ‘Honey, I think you got taken.’ I had to start all over with a new architect.”

She said although the $4,000 she had paid the interior designer “might not be much to some people, it was a lot to me.” 

Ludwig was able to get her money back. She said it was a learning experience, and she believes the city should have a list of verified, certified architects and contractors from which potential business owners can select.

“So many times I would just cry and say, ‘Am I ever going to open?’ I thank God for my family, and a year and a half later, here I am,” she said.

The interior of the former First National Bank in East Liverpool has been renovated into a modern four-station beauty salon.

Her husband, Devon, and her father, Don Mabbett, did much of the interior work, with local companies used as much as possible for the contractual work on the building.

“We saved a ton of money doing all the demo work ourselves,” Ludwig said. “I’m lucky I have good men in my life.”

Ludwig said former Mayor Greg Bricker was a big help to her when he was in office, providing information that helped her prepare as a business owner. And while working in the building at one point, she looked up to see current Mayor Bobby Smith. He asked if she needed any help.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Smith presented Ludwig with a framed picture of her new salon, drawn by local artist Craig Wetzel.

During the renovation, which included tearing out bank fixtures, including a safe, drive-up windows, wooden paneling and more, vandals also struck, leaving the exterior covered with red painted words that had to be painted over.

The interior was designed in modern grays and blacks, with enough stations to provide four stylists, although currently only Ludwig and stylist Olivia Trimble, who has been with her for seven years, are offering services. 

“I’m going to be very picky,” Ludwig said about choosing additional employees. “I would like to bring in someone who offers something different.”

Ludwig completed her cosmetology training as a full-time student at the Columbiana County Career & Technical Center and has been working as a stylist about 22 years.

Trimble completed her training at Casal Aveda Institute in Niles.

Ludwig is considering adding a spa in the building’s full basement, which at one point served as a bomb shelter. 

Customers have access to the salon from Fourth Street parking or a full parking lot at the rear of the building, which also boasts a state-of-the-art security system.

Edge Hair Studio is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with expanded hours anticipated after new stylists are hired. For now, schedules for both Ludwig and Trimble are filled, and the salon’s phone has not yet been connected but will be soon, Ludwig said. The number is 330 368 5003.

Pictured at top: Jessica Ludwig, center, cuts the ribbon on her new salon, Edge Hair Studio. With her are, from left, Amy Mabbett, Don Mabbett, Sandy Mabbett, co-stylist Olivia Trimble, Mayor Bobby Smith, Devon Ludwig, Donovan Ludwig, Brody Ludwig, Darlene Kinsey Johnson, Bob Ludwig and Lori Ludwig.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.