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Drummonds family celebrates 40 years of styling hair
Father Don handing American Salon and Spa off to daughters
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Aveda products sit out on the shelves of American Salon and Spa in Gainesville. American Salon and Spa was the first Aveda Concept Salon north of Atlanta. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Don Drummonds looks at your head and sees geometry.

He visualizes the diverging lines and angles that make up your hairstyle. He envisions the possibilities of textures, thickness, densities and degrees at a casual glance. This, he says, is a developed ability.

With 40 years in the business, the American Salon & Spa co-founder has had plenty of time to hone the skill. When he and wife Glenda opened their first salon in Oakwood, The Lion’s Den, in 1975, he determined there were two different kinds of hairstylists — and two different kinds of people — in this world.

“There’s those with a natural ability, and there’s those with a developed ability,” Drummonds said, adding that he’s the latter and daughter Dana is the former. “She got lucky, because her mother is a natural-ability person, and so (Dana) got it genetically.”

Don credits wife Glenda Drummonds with having the idea for opening the Lion’s Den in Oakwood four decades ago. The couple has owned hair salons in four different locations over that period of time, and they’ve been in the current spot — 1354 Plaza Drive, behind Lakeshore Mall — since 1984.

Staying on the cutting edge of hair trends and styling has been an important factor, according to the Drummonds. Dana said having Aveda as a parent company helps keep the business abreast of the latest industry developments.

She said the Estée Lauder-owned corporation provides training and education through webinars and daily updates.

“Aveda always stays on the cutting edge,” Dana said. “If there’s something new, we learn about it. And there is something new every day. We don’t lose touch with trends.”

Beyond keeping up with the industry, Don said having good employees is also key.

“We’ve been blessed to be able to get good people,” Don said. “When we see talent, we use it. We use the great talent Gainesville has provided for us.”

He added that he loves the location, too.

“Gainesville has been good to us,” he said. “Gainesville is a very good place to run a business if you run it right.”

As he grows older, Don sees himself taking a step back and spending less and less time at the salon. He finds comfort in the fact that his daughters — Emily Morgan and Dana, who are already running it — will be there.

“I know that they will protect the business,” Don said. “They’ll have the same values.”

He said Dana’s natural abilities as a hairstylist will continue to serve her well in the business. Unlike her father, when Dana looks at a full head of hair, she sees sculpture.

In college, Dana studied art and later considered a career in painting. Instead, she became a co-owner of her parents’ hair salon, in part because she loves “sculpting and creating beauty.”

“When you’re operating a business, you have a lot of different things coming at you day to day,” Dana said. “But, then again, you’re able to create art daily, and that’s very rewarding.”