locally owned since 1854

Hairport, Touch of Class on South Union is now Unique Hair Cutz

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/1/18

Hairport and Touch of Class Tanning is under new leadership and has a new name — Unique Hair Cutz and Tanning.

Dana Ward owned Hairport at 2 S. Union St. for 32 years. She worked for the …

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Hairport, Touch of Class on South Union is now Unique Hair Cutz

Posted

Hairport and Touch of Class Tanning is under new leadership and has a new name — Unique Hair Cutz and Tanning.

Dana Ward owned Hairport at 2 S. Union St. for 32 years. She worked for the former owner for four years before purchasing it, and then two years later she bought the tanning salon, too.

Alex Hernandez was looking for a space to open a second barbershop, this one in Middletown. Hernandez told the Press & Journal he saw the building where Hairport was located as being for sale.

Hernandez, who owned the former Unique Hair Cutz in Harrisburg, first approached Ward about renting part of the salon. Then Ward turned around and asked if he wanted to purchase the business, Hernandez said.

Hernandez had been looking at other places — such as the Midtown Plaza near Giant — but always came back to Hairport.

It’s the best location in town, Hernandez said.

According to county tax records, Ward still owns the building.

Ward said she was excited when Hernandez said he would purchase the salon.

“He’s a phenomenal worker,” Ward said. “I’ve seen it in him. He has the drive and what it takes to succeed.”

Hernandez took over on July 1. Now, Unique Hair Cutz also will offer barber services in addition to the hair and nail services, reflexology, and tanning. All of the hair stylists will stay on, including Ward.

Besides little tweaks, Hernandez said he didn’t have plans to make major changes at the salon.

“Pretty much they were running a system that worked. It was easy for us to blend,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said he would not have bought the salon if Ward said she planned to leave after the purchase. He considers Ward a mentor.

“She’s a very driven, hardworking woman,” Hernandez said.

Looking for a purpose

Hernandez grew up in Puerto Rico. When he came to the United States, he worked at warehouses.

“I was trying to look for a purpose,” he said.

He thought about careers he could excel at — culinary school or being a mechanic — but Hernandez said that there were deal breakers.

“Like being a mechanic. I don’t like being dirty,” Hernandez said.

When he was growing up, Hernandez hung out in barbershops. In Puerto Rico, barbershops are a community gathering place where people socialize. Hernandez went to school to become a barber, and two years after he graduated, he opened Unique Hair Cutz on Reily Street in Harrisburg, which he closed to move here.

Hernandez said he was quickly able to grow and expand the shop.

“I think I did it that fast because I truly was the only shop in Harrisburg when I opened that was family-oriented,” he said.

Hernandez had rules at Unique Hair Cutz — no profanity, alcohol or drugs. He served a variety of clients ranging from Senators baseball players and state officials to factory workers.

At first he wondered whether it was the right decision, in part because the former Hairport offered more services than his barbershop used to.

“A one-stop shop,” Ward said.

The new barber services complements other things offered at Unique Hair Cutz, Hernandez said.

“I said, ‘Wow, this is perfect,’” he said.

When he was in Harrisburg, Hernandez was involved in the community and would offer hair cuts for kids. Now that he lives in Middletown, Hernandez plans to get involved.

There are 13 staff members working at the salon. They hope to offer even more services at some point, such as makeup artists.

“We’re going to grow,” Hernandez said.