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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Hairloom Styling Salon is a family affair

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

Kids often wonder what career to pursue after high school. For Ed Stewart, the solution was set. You might say, permanently.

Stewart and his sisters, Heidi Dewey and Jobie O’Neil, work alongside their mother JoAnn Stewart, at the Hairloom Styling Salon.

At the Hairloom, helping people look good runs in the family.

Tucked into the small section of Dean Avenue between Ash and Maple streets, the salon is an area institution – 24 years at its current location and 52 years in north Spokane.

“I grew up in the business,” Ed said. “After high school, Mom said, ‘What are you going to do with your life?’ So, I went downtown and talked to Mr. Dow (Glen Down Academy), and here I am.”

JoAnn launched her career in 1960, and at 83, she’s still as sharp as her scissors.

After working at various salons, she launched her own at the new Town and County Shopping Center in 1971. Jack and Jill Hair Design is still at Stewart’s original location.

She moved the Hairloom to Rosewood Avenue in 1979, and that’s where her son and two daughters cut their chops.

“My job was to empty the ashtrays by the hair dryers and make coffee,” recalled Jobie O’Neil.

She went to beauty school in Seattle, where she lived and worked for several years before returning to Spokane 16 years ago.

“I worked with a lot of different people,” she said. “But it’s a much better environment working with my family. I think it’s pretty cool.”

Her sister, Heidi, agrees.

“I’ve been working at the Hairloom since I was 19,” she said.

To regulars, the salon feels like home. Part of the reason is its location in a renovated 1898 two-story house. Gleaming wood floors and cheery green and yellow paint make the space warm and inviting.

“It’s homey,” said client Jim Parry.

Ed Stewart’s been cutting his hair for eight years.

“After I’d been there a couple of times, I found out my wife and been his third-grade teacher,” Parry said. “Then I found out my mom had been his teacher in middle school.”

Those small Spokane moments delight clients, as does the warm atmosphere.

While JoAnn cut Florence Lobers’ hair, Heidi trimmed her husband Greg’s.

“We look forward to coming here,” he said. “We really enjoy it. Everyone is cordial and friendly, and they do a fantastic job!”

With six decades in the salon industry, JoAnn sees generational customers.

“I’ve cut a lot of my clients’ moms’ and grandma’s hair,” she said.

She’s also seen trends come and go.

“Everyone has long hair now,” she said. “Long hair is only interesting when the wind is blowing – it’s like yardage! That’s why everyone does color.”

JoAnn works three days a week at the salon, but she’s busy elsewhere, too.

“I tap dance and clog, and I play trombone with New Horizons Orchestra and the Lilac City Community Band.”

Ed shrugged.

“Mom’s a go-er,” he said. “She works here. She works at home. She works everywhere.”

No one else in the family seems ready to slow down either.

“I love doing this. The hair industry is always changing,” said JoAnn. “We’ve had so much fun.”

Her kids agree.

“There’s nothing better than working with my family,” Heidi said.

Contact Cindy Hval at