In June, Johnna Meisner lost her mother to cancer. After that, she and her husband Gene decided to change their paths.
“She left us a small amount of money,” said Johnna. “We decided to take a chance and invest in Gene and open a salon. We thought something good could come out of her passing. He considers it my mom’s salon.”
Johnna and Gene, who has been a hairdresser for 24 years, opened Gene Allen’s Hair Studio on Oct. 5. Open for almost two weeks, they’re pleased with how things are going so far.
“The majority of clients we’ve had so far are from his last job,” said Johnna. “His clients waited two months for him to open and it’s given us the start we need and we appreciate that.”
When they decided to open the salon, the couple knew they wanted East Haven to be the business’s home. Gene Allen’s Hair Studio is located at 400 Coe Avenue.
“We’re from here, the last salon he worked at was in East Haven and people know us here so we decided if we’re going to start something brand new, this is the place to do it,” said Johnna. “We wanted to make something beautiful for East Haven and we did a really beautiful job here. We wanted to offer something nice at a good price.”
Gene Allen’s Hair Studio offers haircuts for men ($20), women ($25 for cut and $40 for cut and style) and children ($15). The salon also does color, foils, styling, up-dos and makeup with Gene taking care of the hair and Johnna managing the business.
This is a change of pace for Johnna as she had been working as a personal trainer at North Haven Health & Racquet.
“We took a paycut to start this business and we’re nervous,” said Johnna. “Our obstacle is getting people in here, but once they come in, I don’t worry about them coming back. Plus, I know my mom’s going to help us.”
On Nov. 4, Johnna and Gene are going to give back in memory of Johnna’s mother with a Cut-a-Thon to benefit Connecticut Hospice and Smilow. The Cut-a-Thon is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Men’s and kids’ haircuts will be $10 and women’s haircuts will be $15.
“Other hairdressers are volunteering, too,” said Johnna. “The mayor is coming to do a pink ribbon cutting and every bit of the money will be donated."