Shortly after Thanksgiving, salons around the country begin receiving a little, early holiday cheer via the good ole United States Postal Services. Nestled among the magazines, December bills and holiday cards was a discreet envelope holding their congratulations letters for making the 2011 SALON TODAY 200 list. We knew when letters hit the salons because excited e-mails starting hitting our in-boxes. So we decided to share that good cheer by asking them how they reacted when they first opened those letters:

"Joy and Pride" were my emotions after receiving notification that we were once again included in the SALON TODAY 200! I immediately posted the letter for all staff to see. This is our 10th win and it comes at a pivotal time as we've embarked on new investments to our marketing and infrastructure. Achieving the ST200 provides us with additional clout, pride and high morale-huge assets as we forge ahead into 2011! -Ginny Eramo, Executive Director of Interlocks Salon & Day Spa

"This was our third year in a row to be ranked in the SALON TODAY 200. My friend and fellow salon owner in California had Facebooked me and asked if I had received my letter yet. I could barely sleep knowing that the letter was probably waiting at the salon…I even dreamed about it. Early that Tuesday I e-mailed my business partner to tell her to keep an eye out and text me immediately (that was tough for her to have to open the letter alone) we have done it together in the past. She said her hands were trembling when she saw the envelope. She told me she just wanted to yell out loud she was so happy! We posted flyers in the back to spread the word quickly among team members-fortunate for us our team meeting (we have one every other week) was scheduled for the next day-so we got to cheer and praise our staff together as a team right after finding out. Then we went around the room and everyone talked about what making the list (three years in a row) meant to them!! -Tasha Schurgin, Studio for Hair

"Well my initial reaction was less than dignified. I jumped up and down and smiled, (I may have screamed a little) and did a dance. After that I shared it with my team, (and yes, I was jumping then too!) at the morning huddle and we all were very excited. We congratulated each other and we told each other that we were a great team. It was a huge kudo for us-we are still flying high from the news!" -Rebecca Lee, Bella Luci Salon

"We've been recognized in the Salon Today 200 before, and each time we feel honored and humbled. With a staff of nearly 200 people, it's their dedication and hard work that makes it possible, so we're going to post this year's recognition on our Facebook pages and website." -Brian Perdue, Founder/President of Salon 124

"Immediately after I opened the letter I ran out of my office screaming with excitement (literally!!!) I shared the news with my guest services team and then went around to each stylist to share the news as they always like to read the letter themselves!" -Glennis Tolunay, Vanity Salon in Houston, TX

"We purposely held back the big news until our annual holiday party-this past Saturday night (12/11). Once we had the entire staff (and their loved ones) gathered around, ready to do a toast, we announced "you now officially work for one of the fastest-growing salons in the United States of America-according to Salon Today Magazine!!" They immediately erupted into ear-piercing cheers and high-fives! It was surreal moment for my wife and I, considering our humble beginnings; as we started our companies just 10-years ago with only three employees." -Marc Anthony Rockquemore, CEO, New Identities Hair Studios of Tampa

"I was anxiously getting the mail each day, hoping to see 'the letter,' not totally sure whether I used the salon address or office address on my application. I got a call from my daughter, who received and opened it at the salon and she began to read it to me. I said, 'OMG!!! Did we win? SHHHH! Don't tell anybody, not even your dad (my partner).' I was planning to keep it a secret until our holiday party and surprise everyone with the good news!" Our party was on Sunday night so no one knew except my daughter and myself. We are so proud to be a part of this group and this industry and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!" -Jón Snetman, Jón Alan Salons

"We are jumping for JOY at Salon joVon, seriously JUMPING! We are so proud to accept the honor of being on this list for the Salon Today 200 for 2011. As salon owners for such a short time, in an economic downturn, my partner Yvonne, our TEAM, and myself are energized by achieving this goal and honor. Look out, here we come! This honor has given us the boost and energy to continue the growth in the upcoming year and impact the salon industry in Cleveland, Ohio. We shared the news with our staff as a group. We printed each member of our TEAM a copy of the letter sent and a HUGE thank you cover letter. They all read them at the same time, followed by cheers and tears of joy, hugs all around." -Jo Ann Gaudio-Byrne
Yvonne Redden-Smith and the entire Staff at Salon joVon

"I have to say, I thought something was very wrong at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday December 7th, 2010. I was in my office when I heard my wife Tiffany screaming out in the salon. I proceeded to run out and she was yelling, "Oh my god, oh my god this is awesome!" While hyperventilating and jumping up and down repeatedly, she handed me the letter. I then knew it was a scream of JOY that I had first heard! Luckily, we have captured it all on our video surveillance system. It's quite a sight. We did text most of our stylists to let them know the great news and then once again announced it at our holiday party which we also have on video." -Clay and Tiffany, N' Style Salon in Santa Clarita, CA

"It was funny because I kept checking my e-mail to see if there was any news and when I received the letter in the mail and it was so ‘thin' I thought for sure it was a thanks for your consideration, but…when I read the second paragraph I was elated! I told the staff at our holiday appreciation party (how appropriate) and it set the mood for such a wonderful evening of really appreciating one another and recognizing what a wonderful team we are! It's so nice to be recognized and acknowledged for something we have worked so hard to achieve." -Susan Healy, HC Studio in Brookline, MA

"Our team has monthly meetings and this month's meeting was on integrity. Integrity first within ourselves, our product (Aveda) and our brand-as we discussed how only the salon/spas with great integrity are awarded with the SALON TODAY 200. We announced that all our hard work has paid off as we read the letter from SALON TODAY aloud to the team. We then celebrated our success with a toast of champagne!" -Linda Crawford, Owner, Dimensions Design & Wellness Studio

 Dimensions design & wellness studio team members

"We are open seven days a week at our second location and I was beat when I picked up the mail late on Sunday night, when I saw the manila folder I was really nervous! Opening the envelope and reading the letter filled me with elation, it's been a long, hard year and the word ‘Congratulations!' re-energized me. Immediately, I took a photo of the letter with my camera, and posted it on Facebook, thanking both staff and clients. We'll have lots to celebrate at the holiday party." -Brandon Wagner, Tribeca ColorSalon

"We are so happy to be an honoree in this year's ST200. When I opened the letter I just couldn't believe it! When I ran out of the office to tell my staff members we were all screaming and crying, it was like a ‘Miss America' moment." -Kim Hammer and the staff of Fringe Salon, NJ

"I called a quick group meeting during business hours as soon as I opened the envelope. I was so pumped up I couldn't wait until the end if the day to tell the news. The first thing I remember saying to everyone was, "Who says lightning can never strike the same place twice?" I read the newsletter then told the staff we where upgrading our holiday party plans to include a limo to NYC for the night to celebrate our second ST200!" -Rich Daly, Richard Salon of Smithtown

"In my excitement, I took a picture of the SALON TODAY 200 announcement and immediately texted it to all of my team to congratulate them as well!" -Cindy Zoellner, Salon Orange Moon

"We were very excited to receive the news that we were once again honored in the Salon Today 200, so we walked out onto the salon floor and asked for all the stylists and their guests' attention. We announced the great news to the whole room, which resulted in a resounding round of applause and celebrating." -Mary and Scott Randolph, Randolph's Salon

"I was very excited to open the Salon Today envelope and thrilled when I read that we made it-it is such a great honor! I immediately came out and told my team and posted the letter on our message board congratulating them and telling them we would have a big Team Celebration Party!" -Marian Stones and The Illusions Team

"My immediate reaction was excited! We had never entered before. Therefore, being selected on our first try was truly amazing. We are honored to be apart of an exclusive group of salons/spas. I told my staff by first displaying the letter and then followed-up by sharing our success with the team at our holiday party." -Marc Levitan, Essentials Salon at Valley Square, Warrington, PA

"I was all choked up and close to tears when I read that we were in the SALON TODAY 200! We had all been anxiously waiting for the results. I bounced through the salon announcing it to all the team and guests that were there." -Darlene Appel, Escape Salon, Nokomis, FL

"I had a vision for a salon, and over the past 5½ years I have felt like the little train that said, ‘I think I can, I think I can.' This recognition validates my dream and rewards the warriors who have joined my team." -Barri Allen, owner, Senior Associate JPMS, A Signature Hollywood Salon in O'Fallon, IL

"Upon reading our announcement of inclusion in this year's SALON TODAY 200, we immediately texted our entire company thanking them for their hard work. We also posted the information on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace for our clients to view. In these messages, we thanked our clients for their support, encouragement, and patronage! We were excited and honored to be a part (again) of this wonderful list of successful and determined brands!" -Jason Hall, Red 7 Salon in Chicago and Evanston, IL

"I didn't quit smiling all day and night! This time meant more to us than the ones before and I believe it is because every business has had to work with more intensity and unity. I told each girl individually to see their eyes light up one at a time! Our salon is run by all of us so they also smiled and talked about it all day." -Myra J. English, My Raja Salon

"What a great feeling to open the mail and see that letter! Thank you SALON TODAY. When we make the list, we blow up the cover of the magazine to a full window poster and unveil it to our staff at the beginning of our January salon celebration. It's a great way to start the year. Then we keep it hanging in the window at the spa." -Heather Hazlett, Spa Bleu in West Dundee & South Barrington IL

"We at the Eric Fisher Salon and Academy are overjoyed with being named one of the SALON TODAY 200. Our team as worked very hard in this new economy to hit our benchmark numbers and goals. Everyone on the team is over the top with the nomination." -Eric Fisher and Team

"When I saw the envelope on the front desk, I was so anxious to get to it, I had to leave my client at my chair and get the envelope. When I read that my salon had made it, I did the ‘happy dance' with my client! We shared the results the next morning at our weekly team meeting, everyone was as ecstatic as I was!" -Rusty Phillips, owner Belle Epoque An Atelier Salon in Kansas City, MO

"I have to admit, this past year has been the most difficult for us compared to recent years. We doubled our space, doubled our overhead, and had to fire our top two producers under myself! To say the very least, we were so relieved that we made it!!! So we are taking our team to Vegas and celebrating in February!" -Angela Justice, Payton Place Salon in North Little Rock, AR

"This was a dream come true and something I always wanted to achieve. My staff is so proud to be part of a growing and great salon. It has made us look at everything we do and live up to it." -Brittany Molina, Brittany's Spa Salon

"I am ecstatic and honored to be one of the salons that is part of the SALON TODAY 200. It has been my dream to be chosen! I actually broke the news immediately to our staff and they are just as ecstatic about this honor." -Mini Dhanjal, Rejuve Salon Spa

"The Paul Kenneth Salon was overjoyed. We immediately held a salon meeting to share the news and celebrated the accomplishment by providing food to our staff. We educated them on the criteria that is measured to be one of the ST200 salons and our staff felt very proud to be a part of a growing salon, especially in this down economy." -Jackie Maniaci, Paul Kenneth Salon & Spa

"We updated our salon's Facebook status about being in the SALON TODAY 200. Lot's of people ‘liked' and commented tons of positive things!" -Urban Betty Salon

"Receiving the recognition of the SALON TODAY 200 is our most exciting news of this year. As soon as we got the envelope of the announcement, I immediately faxed the letter to all locations (we have three locations) to share the great news! Right away, I received numerous texts from our team members, and we all did the ‘happy dance' together. It was a great day at Karen Allen." -Khanh Nguyen, Karen Allen Salon and Spa, Inc.

"How did I feel when I found out when we got this recognition? I actually was fairly surprised, as I knew it certainly would not be for growth. I supposed it is like getting the grade ‘A'. That is ‘A' for effort. We put more effort into this business in 2009 and again for 2010, we can only expect to move upward as the economy improves." -Pat Helmandollar, President of Savvy Salon and Day Spa

"We moved into our brand new 25-chair salon on November 2, 2010 and had been anxiously awaiting the letter! When I saw the brown envelope with Salon Today's logo on the return label arrive in the mail Monday morning, I was SO nervous to open it. I called Geno over to the desk and we SLOWLY pulled the letter out, desperately hoping to see the word CONGRATULATIONS one more time! We hugged, held up the letter with tears in our eyes, and announced to the entire salon ‘Congratulations everyone, you did it again!' -Cindy Levi, VP Operations, Geno Levi Salon in McMurray, PA

"Learning we were honored in this year's SALON TODAY 200 was a perfect start to our Leadership Council 2011 vision meeting last week. It was a ‘Take time to smell the roses moment.'"-Vito Mazza Jr., President, Vito Mazza Salon & Spa in Woodbridge, NJ

"Yay!!!!! Showed the letter to everyone, then texted the news to my business partner and manager, then I quickly posted it on Facebook." -Tina Morschauser, Rejuvenation Spa

"Elated! Humbled, Amazed!! Upon opening our letter I read it and set it down then in a split second it registered, the letter said Congratulations!!! Called my Salon Manager and she could barely understand me crying and screaming the news in her ear! Our team is so very proud to be a part of such a prestigious group!! -Elilzabeth Gallegos, Euphoria Salon Inc.

"I opened the letter Tuesday morning when I got into work. Seeing the thin envelope with the Salon Today logo reminded me of college acceptance letters, that nothing good EVER comes in a thin, manila envelope. Preparing myself to be let down, I skimmed through the letter quickly, and once I hit the 'congratulations' paragraph my eyes started to tear up immediately. Once finished with the entire letter I was in a full blown crying fit, all of the hard work this past year, and long shifts spent at the salon had finally paid off. We were a SALON TODAY 200 salon! I called our salon owners immediately, and put our co-owner Lisa into tears as well. Like many other salons, these past two years have been very hard on everyone, it was nice to finally have a pay off." -Lara Gobins, salon manager, Berenices

"I saw the SALON TODAY 200 envelope and my heart started racing. I opened it and started scanning the letter. When I saw, ‘Congratulations', I sat there for a moment to let it sink in, and then the tears started. I walked up to my Assistant Manager and said, ‘You and I are about to have a moment' and I shared the great news and have been smiles ever since!" -Keri Davis, Gila Rut

"I was very excited to hear that Bellacures would be acknowledged as one of the best managed salons in America. This means a lot to the entire Bellacures team and me. We work hard to ensure quality service, cleanliness, friendliness and professionalism. All of our loyal customers for the past five years will also be ecstatic!" -Samira Asemanfar, Bellacures

"The first week of every December is always nerve racking because I am hopeful that that I will see a MODERN SALON/SALON TODAY envelope. I hold my breath every time I open it and pray that it says we are a ST200  honoree. We immediately sent off an e-mail blast to our 60 team members boasting our accomplishment!" -Nicole DeRosa, Spa Ni'joli & Salon

"How did we feel when we heard we were selected? Elated, affirmed, excited and proud! We have all worked hard to prevent a slumping economy from affecting our business culture, which in turn would affect our client experience. We feel good about our accomplishments to that end, and it is so wonderful to receive recognition of our efforts from an industry leader like SALON TODAY. A celebratory breakfast will mark our fifth year as a Top 200 honoree!" -Paula Coll, General Manager, Zanya Spa Salon

"I was alone in my office when the news came in. I sat for a moment and allowed my heart to feel the joy as I breathed in and out... ok, I cried tears of happiness and couldn't wait to tell my staff! Actually I really wanted to run through the salon in Paul Revere fashion shouting, ‘We won, we won'!!! But I didn't do that, I composed myself and for a moment I closed my eyes and went on a journey into the past and as the movies played back in my mind, I felt ALL of the people that had touched my life and how happy I am to be in the best industry in the world. And then...I cried again! -Jacque Leonard, Salon Roux, Paso Robles

"It happened to be my birthday, so it made my celebration extra special. The team had surprised me by having me go to a networking event at a new nightclub in town, and they were all there!! So I was able to share the letter with the team that evening-dual celebration." -Coral Pleas, Cutting Loose Salon and Spa in Sarasota, FL

"We, at Schardein & Co. Salon, were elated and honored to be included in the SALON TODAY 200.  The news was shared with the entire company at our weekly education meeting-everyone cheered and clapped at the great news! Our staff is passionate and driven maintaining this level of performance. We appreciate all that SALON TODAY is doing for our company and the hair industry. -Schardein & Co Salon, Oklahoma City, OK

"At Bella Bethesda, the excitement of being selected as a top salon began the minute we spotted a letter marked Salon Today in the mail. We had eagerly awaited the day and upon opening the envelope and a few jumps of excitement, I shared the great news with the stylists and clients in the salon. To make sure the celebration kept going and to thank the stylists for helping the salon achieve an honor like this, a special sign was immediately displayed in their break room and has remained there since." -Stacy Dabney Ramirez, Bella Bethesda Salon in Bethesda, MD

We were just finishing up our monthly Huddle/Meeting when the mail lady came in and brought the GREAT NEWS! Timing IS everything! They were so excited that they each ran home and put on their Facebook how extremely Proud they were to be on a TEAM that is so recognized! I know just by me posting I had over 60 comments by the days end! The power of social networking! -Gayle Fulbright, owner of Headlines

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