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Spouse leaps into hair

Kimberlee Calvin fulfills dream of owning own business

Kimberlee Calvin, military spouse and owner of Shea Alexander Salon and Boutique. Courtesy photo

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The warm, welcoming atmosphere envelopes patrons the minute they walk in the door of Shea Alexander Salon and Boutique in DuPont. The successful salon is the result of the hard work and dreams of owner and military spouse Kimberlee Calvin, who took the leap and opened her business in February 2015.

Clients often compare Calvin's establishment to the salon in the movie Steel Magnolias

"At first, I wasn't sure how to take it, but I realized it is a compliment," Calvin said. "People love our friendly vibe and often come by to chat. As a military spouse, I understand when you move you want to find a dentist, childcare and someone to do your hair."

When Calvin and her family moved to the area, she found it difficult to find a job that was close to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) with the flexible hours she needed.  With experience opening and managing a salon for a friend at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, she decided to open her own salon.  

"I needed a practical location, as I knew most of my clientele would come from JBLM.  I decided on Barksdale Station in DuPont because of its easy proximity to the DuPont Gate.  I really can't thank my landlord Denise Dhane enough for her mentorship and helping to make the space affordable as I started a new business," she said.

Calvin chose to fund her business with her own money rather than a business loan.  

"I could walk away if we moved and not have any debt," she said.  "I can't afford advertising and keep my prices low, so I rely on referrals and Yelp reviews."

A quick glance at Yelp shows very positive reviews.

The color concept of the salon comes from a professional photograph of Calvin's mother-in-law, Betty Shea, which hangs prominently on the salon wall.  

"She looks so elegant in the photo, and I loved the colors and was able to incorporate (them) in the space," Calvin said. "The name comes from a combination of my twin sons' middle names.  My favorite boss named her business after the middle names of her children. I loved the idea, and knew it would one day be the name of my business."

"Kimberlee has vision and knows where she is going," said Denise Dhane, Calvin's landlord and a retired military spouse. "She has brought great ideas and energy to the DuPont business community.  We have been blessed having her as a tenant."

Dhane shared her first experience getting her hair done at the Shea Alexander Salon and Boutique.

"I told her I wasn't high maintenance and my appearance wasn't that important to me.  She told me my appearance is very important, (that) you need to put yourself first.  It makes a huge difference.  I took her advice to heart.  After all the moves as a military spouse, raising two kids and focusing on our practice, I realized it's okay to take some time for yourself."

Due to its success, the Shea Alexander Salon and Boutique will be expanding to a new, larger location in downtown DuPont in late spring 2017.

Shea Alexander Salon and Boutique, open Monday to Saturday; hours vary. 1100 Station Drive, Suite 151, DuPont, 253.302.5751,

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