A popular hair salon has closed after more than 30 years of washes, cuts and numerous perms.
Husband and wife duo Stewart and Hannah Beachem hung up their scissors and said goodbye to New Images at Riverview Park, Gravesend, last weekend.
Stewart, 53, started the business aged 21 in 1990 after his plans to travel to Australia failed.
He took over Alma Parade’s lounge – formerly known as The Looking Glass – where he met Hannah.
She said: “I met Stewart while working at the salon and we’ve built a beautiful community business together that feels like a family.
“In the early 1990s, weight tables were all the rage, so Stewart decided to use half the floor as a hair salon and the other half for the weight tables.
“It helped the hairdressing industry immensely, as the ladies who came to the toning tables got to know us, the stylists, and started making appointments for their hair. To this day, we were styling them after all these years.”
The couple saw kids come in for their first cuts, then watched them grow up, get married and have their own little ones who they then brought in for their first style.
Thinking back to hair fashion, Stewart said streetcars — where creative shapes are shaved into the head — were among the wackiest styles he’s created.
Perms were very common in their early days, but now people were opting for “crazy” colors, especially the younger generation who “like to experiment”.
Hannah added, “Undercuts and curtains were really a phase of fashion. I think most of us have a dodgy haircut photo from our childhood.”
The couple decided to close shop because their lease was up for renewal. Hannah, 47, said: “We felt the time was right to hang up our scissors after almost 33 years in the industry.
“Covid was obviously a game-changer because the magic of the show just wasn’t there when we reopened after closings.
“Wearing the masks took away the personal touch. We couldn’t see the smile on our customers’ faces anymore. They couldn’t see ours either. The only bit of magic left was making them feel good about themselves. giving them a much needed haircut. .
“We realized how much of a difference we could still make in their lives, which rekindled the magic for all of us.
“Many customers have become our friends over the years and will always be now that our door is closed. Even though having the business was rather difficult, it gave us such great memories.
“We have shared many laughs and tears over the years with our customers and staff, but we have all helped and supported each other. We are so grateful to our staff and customers for their loyalty and support. .
“And we feel like we are leaving with a bang after our many years in the business. It was a celebration as we begin our new adventure in our life book.”
Hannah will now pursue a career as a celebrant while Stewart enjoys some time off work.
“It will be so nice not to have the pressure of running your own business,” Hannah said. “We are both looking forward to our new chapter and spending some quality time together.
“Running a business is very difficult and you constantly think about it.”
New images closed on Saturday.