Here's how Penzone is flourishing on the other side of a brutal year

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
The new Penzone Salon at 5751 N. Hamilton Road will have space for cocktails and socializing.

After one of the most challenging years in the company's history, Charles Penzone Inc. is moving forward with a new look and a new salon.

“I know what we went through this past year and that we’re excited coming out of this,” said President and CEO Debbie Penzone. “It’s going to be the roaring ‘20s is what they're all saying, and human connection is going to be even more valuable now.”

Penzone Salons just announced a new location opening at 5751 N. Hamilton Road. The salon is scheduled to open in early 2022 and will replace the current New Albany/Gahanna location at 1356 Cherry Way Drive. The company also recently completed German Village salon renovations.

The new location has been in the works for years, said Penzone, who has worked at the salons for 32 years. Efforts to rebrand the salon started in 2018 with renovations at the Dublin salon – one of Penzone Salons' six central Ohio locations. 

The new Penzone Salon on Hamilton Road, shown in this rendering, will replace the company's salon on Cherry Way Drive.

“We really felt like this was the way we wanted to take the concept forward – to reinvent the [Charles Penzone Grand Salon] day spa that we were known for in the ‘90s," Penzone said. “We wanted to move past that and become relevant again.”

In the new salon, Penzone imagines guests enjoying a cocktail with a friend in one of the many open spaces, relaxing by the fireplace or enjoying the weather on one of the two outdoor patios. A bridal party may be enjoying face masks at the beauty zone, or perhaps a guest will pay a visit for a dual mani/pedi. 

Penzone is also adding an increased focus on sensory experiences, many stemming from aromatherapy such as lavender hot towels and room sprays. Guests can also enjoy noise canceling headsets with added meditation rituals, something she has experimented with personally at her yoga studio, Lit Life + Yoga. 

Penzone plans to bring in additional partnerships as well, similar to those offered in the past, like heart health talks from the American Heart Association, fashion shows featuring local boutiques, and other classes from the salon team, like how to shape the perfect brow. 

Penzone said the new salon will also have some features not yet seen at other locations.

“We don’t want to just continue what we’ve done at Dublin or Polaris or the Short North,” she said. 

Many of the additions to the new location are designed to decrease anxiety and stress and increase human connection as it becomes safe – changes catered to COVID-19. Penzone Salons closed a week prior to the state-mandated shutdown in 2020 and are still adjusting to the new normal.

“It’s been so tough for our industry, of course, nationwide,” Penzone said. “I believe the number was about 30 percent [of salons] have gone out of business because they just couldn’t survive.” 

Before the onset of the pandemic, the first quarter of 2020 was the salon’s most successful quarter in its 52-year history. Then came the coronavirus shutdowns. The company stayed afloat with the help of a Paycheck Protection Program loan, and it supported furloughed staff with interest-free loans. Demand resurged once the salons were able to reopen May 15. Staffing levels today are what they were in April 2019, Penzone said. 

Having previously survived highs and lows like the Great Recession, a period when Penzone was promoted to president and CEO, she felt confident the team could safely move forward. 

Penzone Salons also recently renovated its German Village location.

Jess Deyo is associate editor of Columbus CEO.