Each year, our entire SALON TODAY editorial team spends a full day in a darkened conference room evaluating more than a 1,000 submitted images of salon interiors in order to narrow down our SALONS OF THE YEAR applicants to 20 finalists. We then send off the full entries of those finalists to a carefully chosen panel of outside and unbiased architects, salon designers and salon industry experts to choose our grand-prize winner and the cover salon of our June SALONS OF THE YEAR issue.

About a month ago, knowing that Ginger Bay Salon and Spa in Town and Country, Missouri, was on our list of finalists, and that MODERN SALON Executive Editor Alison Shipley would be in St. Louis on business the first weekend in May, we called Ginger Bay’s owner Laura Ortmann to see if we could videotape a tour of her gorgeous new salon. Imagine how excited we were to learn a few days before filming, that Ginger Bay actually won the competition, and we had the opportunity to catch Laura’s reaction on camera. So that’s exactly what we did! In fact, we had just enough time to mock up our June cover before Alison boarded her plane so she had something to present Laura.

Laura and Ginger Bay had some very tough competition this year, and until the last judge’s ballot was in, it could have been any salon’s win.  We congratulate all of the 2012 SALONS OF THE YEAR finalists, and we can’t wait to share their design stories and interiors in SALON TODAY and on salontoday.com in the weeks ahead.

2012 SALONS OF THE YEAR

GRAND-PRIZE: Ginger Bay Salon and Spa, Laura A. Ortmann and Jeffrey N Evenson, Town & Country, Missouri

FIRST-RUNNER UP: Shin, Shin An, Santa Monica, California

SECOND-RUNNER UP: Bespoke Hair Artisans, Lisa Williams, Edina, Minnesota

THIRD-RUNNER UP: Roca Salon and Spa, Rhonda and Rod Cavner, Kansas City, Missouri

SALONS OF DISTINCTION:

The Collage Salon, Doug and Lisa Faber, Seattle Washington

Fringe Salon, Lauri Fleischman, Fayetteville, New York

Glo Hair Lounge, John Chirillo and Natalie Wright, Winter Springs, Florida

HAUS Salon, Jessica Reipke and Charlie Brackney, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Headlines the Salon, Gayle Fulbright, Encinitas, California

Jyl Craven Hair Design, Jyl and Jason Craven, Canton, Georgia

Kink Salon, Angelo Venezia, Englewood, New Jersey

LesliJon Salon, Janet West and Joyce Parker, The Villages, Florida

Morrison Hair, James and Rachel Morrison, Laguna Beach, California

New Reflections Spa Salon, Diane Keller, Plymouth, Minnesota

Salon 241, Katie Clifford and Andrea Walller, Northhampton, Massachusetts

Salon Entourage, David Babakhanov, Syosset, New York

Sine Qua Non Salon, West Town, Laura Boton, Chicago, Illinois

Strands Studio for Hair, Edie Ciccia, Alpharetta, Georgia

Trilogy Salon, Darlene Misko and J, Nichole Phillips, Indianapolis, Indiana

Van Michael Salon, Van Council and Michael Council, Atlanta, Georgia