April 2009

Gary Manuel Salon Answers Seattle’s Call for Style and Community for 30 Years

Convinced they could do a better job of running a salon, making it a fun, exciting place to work, Gary Howse and Manuel Benevich opened Gary Manuel Salon in 1979.

They knew their dream depended on three things: hard work, a great training program and exceptional customer service.

These tenets have kept them at the top as Seattle’s premiere salon for fashion-forward styling and a loyal clientele.

This month Seattle Magazine featured two Gary Manuel stylists as rising stars – both of whom graduated from their Gary Manuel Aveda Institute.

As their salon grew, so did their neighborhood. Howse and Benevich said they like being located on the street so they can know and support their neighbors. By being one of the first businesses on the block, they have been a mainstay in bringing people to the area and thereby helping to develop the neighborhood.

“When we moved to Belltown in 1991, Blanchard was the end of downtown. Now, it is a key area of the downtown core,” Howse explained. He also lives downtown and co-founded the Downtown Seattle Resident’s Council, a volunteer organization to improve Seattle’s downtown livability.

They chose to do the same thing when they opened the Gary Manuel Aveda Institute and leased a building with not much on the street in a declining neighborhood on Capitol Hill. “The area was full of bars and not much else,” Benevich recalled. Now the neighborhood has several new condo buildings and five new restaurants.

Over the years, Gary Manuel has dedicated time, passion and money to their community. The Lifelong AIDS Alliance has received over $600,000 from various fundraising efforts throughout the years with many thousands being raised for the Northwest AIDS Walk.

Most recently, as a part of AVEDA’s Earth Month partnership with the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Gary Manuel Salon raised over $45,000 to help preserve and protect Puget Sound.

For their 30th anniversary milestone, Gary Manuel hosted 3/30, an event attended by over 200 people to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the salon and the third anniversary of the Gary Manuel Aveda Institute. Held at Seattle’s new Olympic Sculpture Park, the evening included a fashion show by Ana Karzis and Gerard Scarpaci, Global Masters for Aveda and special guest David Wagner, author of Life as a Daymaker. The highlight however was the surprise video and messages by beauty icons – including Beth & Carmine Minardi, Eric Fisher, and Dominique Conseil, President of Aveda – thanking Howse and Benevich for their contributions to the industry. Conseil said [in his video], “You are models for what we can aspire to and look up to. We are so proud to have you in our network. Thank you for the huge difference you make every day.”

Their mission to make people feel good about themselves extends far beyond their hair salon. Both owners feel their greatest accomplishment has been teaching the many hundreds of young people that seek their professional guidance that contributing and “giving back” are the greatest lessons of all. As one Gary Manuel employee put it, “they are not Daymakers, they are life-changers.”

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