Changing nature of salon business forces longtime BR operator to downsize, move in with competitor

    After more than 27 years in business on Lee Drive near the LSU campus, Rage Hair Salon owner Rick Richardson has downsized and moved his salon from 190 Lee Drive into the nearby Bleaux Blow Dry Bar at 162 Lee Drive.

    The move was prompted by financial considerations. Richardson says the salon business has become much more competitive over the past two decades and that a growing number of salons are now leasing out booth space to individual stylists, who work as independent contractors. He says the new model has made hiring and retaining stylists increasingly difficult and that moving in with his neighbor was a way for him to save on overhead.

    “It’s a good fit because they really have a different niche than we do,” he says. “Our services overlap but also complement each other.”

    Bleaux is one of several blow dry bars that has entered the market in the past three years. Richardson predicts Baton Rouge may be reaching the point of saturation, but he doesn’t think it is there yet.

    Richardson says his move was also motivated by a desire to have less stress in his life and “no longer have to be anybody’s boss.” Rage will continue to operate under its same name in its new location.

    —Stephanie Riegel

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