By Agrippina Fadel
Nothing gives that small-town feeling like getting your hair done at the same salon as your mother. When Vito Blancato opened Hair Odyssey in 1974, he hoped his business would become a place just like that.
Over four decades later, stylists and patrons say everyone visiting or working at Hair Odyssey felt like they were family.
Originally located on 10189 West Sample Road, the salon moved to its current location at 9110 Wiles Road in 1991. According to Vito’s daughter Joanne Blancato Murray, the salon was forced to close due to a change of ownership at the Royal Eagle Plaza on Wiles Road and University Drive.
All hair stylists and nail technicians at Hair Odyssey are moving to Polished salon on October 1.
When Vito retired 18 years ago, daughters Joanne and Caryl Blancato purchased the salon from him. Five years ago, they sold it to the current owner, Carol Green, but continued to work there.
“When someone bought the entire center, they doubled the rents for most of the business owners, in some cases from $20 a square foot to $44,” said Joanne, adding that as leases for the stores come up, one after another is choosing to go elsewhere.
Carol could not afford the new lease conditions, and according to Joanne, while the plaza owners said Hair Odyssey could rent month to month, the owners had already rented the space to someone else.
Joanne said Carol considered opening another salon but didn’t have enough time to find the place during the transition.
“Finding a space would take a while, and they [plaza owners] would not give her a definite date when she would have to leave,” she added.
Now a Coconut Creek resident, Joanne lived in Coral Springs for years, while her parents lived in Parkland before retiring to Port St. Lucie.
“My dad is very sad about the news. This salon was his life. He used to run a column in the Forum News under the name Mr. Vito every week for years, about hair products and advice,” she added.
A hairdresser at Hair Odyssey since 1982, Joanne was hoping to retire there together with her sister.
“We have clients like family, who came to us for decades. We were all pretty upset about closing at first and didn’t want to make the move,” she said. “It is sad, but it is also a new beginning, and at least we will all still be together.”
Seeing the salon close after so many years is heartbreaking, said longtime client Iris Wilder. Still, she is glad the Hair Odyssey team will have an opportunity to continue working at Polished.
“When I first moved to Coral Springs in the early 1980s, the salon had a coupon in a little welcome basket; I tried them and have been going to them ever since. All my kids had their first haircuts there, and my husband went there for years,” Wilder said, adding that she still drives to Hair Odyssey after moving to Boca Raton and will follow the stylists to Polished, located at 9858 W Sample Rd.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master’s in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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