Christopher Walsh is proud of his tiny and efficient salon at the corner of 7th Avenue and 13th Street in NYC. Opened in June 2001, Christopher grabbed the former gift shop and decided to turn the 500 square feet into his seven station haven.

I stopped in the J. Christoper Salon yesterday to visit Brian and Sandra Smith as they were prepping for a Modern Salon shoot. While visiting salons NYC is something I do on a regular basis, I was beyond impressed by this space. Christopher totally maximized every inch of those 500 square feet.

"I like to think of this as a typical neighborhood salon," the Matrix Color Master and Master Educator told me. "It's manageable, comfortable, homey and not intimidating. Our clients and staff are so happy here."

Brian Smith was listening to our conversation. "Before I came to the states [Brian hails from Scotland] I thought all US salons were 2000 square feet with 5 chairs. Space is money but there has to be balance. This salon is beyond efficient and still maintains the atmosphere. This is a real life salon." Christopher credits Belvedere with helping him find perfectly proportioned equipment and furntiure to maximize the space.

For those of you outside the large metropolitan area, the costs to maintain a 500 square foot salon in the West Village can be a tad staggering:

rent: $6100/month

phone: $300/month

water: $200/month

insurance: $1500/year

J. Christopher is open 7 days a week and Christopher cherishes his 6 employees, all well versed in Matrix education and 2 serving as Matrix educators. Christopher chose the colors black and silver to be practical and fashionable with red accents to honor Matrix.

As far as retail is concerned, Christopher offers Matrix liquids ("No space for appliances") which sell well and bring in 15% of his gross. Single process color starts at $85 and a basic cut begins at $80 (Christopher's cuts starts at $95).

It was a wonderful 2 hours spent at the J.Christopher salon, but I had to ask: "Would you ever want to move to a bigger space?"

"No," he said quickly. "I'm happy at 43 7th Avenue."

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