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Organic Salon Opens After Neighbor Businesses Burn

Reporting Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)

It's an entrepreneur's nightmare. You find just the right neighborhood for your new business, and then a day before you open, the neighborhood changes.

That's exactly what happened to Kassie Kuehl. On February 18th, a fire destroyed the southeast corner of the 50th Street South and Bryant Avenue business district. Popular gift shop Patina is gone, along with two well-known restaurants, Heidi's and Blackbird.

The day after the fire, Kuehl opened her the new Kasia Organic Salon on the northeast corner of 50th and Bryant. There's less foot traffic than she hoped for, but she hopes her organic approach will bring clients in.

Kuehl considered leaving the beauty business a couple years ago. While working at an Aveda salon, she started to have health problems.

"Headaches, nauseous, just loss of appetite. I wasn't comfortable at all," said Kuehl, assigning blame to the chemicals found in many salon products. "They made me sick, absolutely."

Kasia Organic Salon features organic services and products, including Kuehl's private line. Client Nancy Halvorson came to the salon because of Kuehl's natural approach. She eats organic food and figured this would be a natural next step.

"I think once you start down that road, you realize how much everything affects you," said Halvorson, her hair covered with foil. "You just become a better steward all around, not only to your body, but then that kind of spills over the environment and how you're treating the whole world."

When asked why other salons don't go all-organic, Kuehl said, "Costs. It's bottom line. It's more efficient. They can shelve a product for years without it going bad."

Kuehl believes that in the future all salons will operate this way. Until then, her clients can come to 50th and Bryant to get their hair colored without the strong smell of ammonia.

"I love it, I love it," said client Halvorson. "Love not having to smell the smell, and my hair feels great. It lasts a long time."

Paula Engelking, Producer

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