Great cuts, great prices at Studio 303
You loved them at the Cascade Village Montanas Salon for their flare, expertise and friendly personalities. But lately, Chris Ralston and Norman Bye have gone M.I.A., at least several of their clients so believe.Where in the Eagle River Valley did they go?Look no further. Tucked into a charming, convivial spot in the Crowder Complex, Chris Ralston and Norman Bye are up to their special hair magic once again, only this time their Studio 303 Minturn Hair Salon is right in the heart of Minturn’s charismatic Main Street.Actually, Ralston and Bye have been in Minturn for five years, now. They were first ensconced in a funky cabin at 303 Main Street – hence the name, Studio 303. Yet part of their devoted clientele are still puzzling their current whereabouts. Although they might have to venture a few minutes outside Vail to find Studio 303 at 341 Main Street, it’s well worth the effort.Studio 303 is an attractive, intimate place, a place where less emphasis is placed on hyped glitz and glamour and more on on giving the customer the latest in style in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Studio 303 is a place where you can get an up-to-date look, one that will bring out the best in your hair and you, with the knowledge you are in the hands of highly knowledgeable experts."We wanted to bring high quality color and hair design to more of a local market," Ralston said of the move to Minturn. He added that he and his partner Bye wanted to offer "high end services, but at localprices."And that’s just what Studio 303 does. Ralston, Bye and fellow hairstylist Dana Veljacic offer all the high-tech treatments, hair cuts, and all elements of creative color – even hair extensions and natural looking perms, but at prices that don’t seem out of this world.Soon, Studio 303 hopes to offer skin treatments and nail services as well. Ralston’s wife, Anne, is finishing beauty school now in hopes of adding another dimension to the salon in the near future. The salon also carries a couple of lines of excellent hair care products.Most impressive of all, Ralston and Bye have 25 years of cosmetology experience between them."We’ve seen them come and go," Ralston said. Before opening the salon in Minturn, the duo worked in Minneapolis, Orlando, Florida and Montanas at the Cascade Village in Vail, both separately andtogether."We’ve worked together on and off for the last 15 years," said Ralston, who has spent the last 12 years as a hairstylist in Eagle County. In fact, he added, it was Bye who got him interested in hair styling in the beginning, back in South Dakota where they areboth from the same town.For his part, Ralston loves the challenge of hair styling. "Every client is different, every cut and color is different. There is just a lot of creativity behind it,” he said.But all these upscale services are offered to the customer for less-than-glamorous prices, luckily for the duo’s clients. Studio 303’s highlights, for example, start at just $45 for a partial, with color starting at the same reasonable price. And the salon offers frequent cut cards and weekly specials on various services.Key to Studio 303’s philosophy is creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for customers."To me it’s just greeting people nicely, trying to know their names when they come in," Ralston said. Which, he added, are just the basic elements of any small business. "I’ve worked in high-end, stuffy shops. We want to do the high-quality work with the friendly, casual feel."Although it has taken some of Ralston and Bye’s customers a while to track them down, business has been steadily growing at Studio 303. Just book early if you plan on paying Studio 303 a visit on Minturn Market Saturdays."We get really busy on Saturdays," Ralston said. After all, he added, Studio 303 is the only gig of its kind in town. "We’re they only ones offering cosmetology type services." And, Ralston added, there’s nothing he and Bye would love more than inviting previous clients back to the fold, this time to Studio 303.Studio 303 is easy to locate at 341 Main Street, in Unit C of the Crowder Complex, next to Minturn Mile Liquors. There is even convenient, pull-up parking. The salon is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each evening. Late eveningappointments are available on request. For appointments, call Studio 303 at 827-5896; or call 376-2626.