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Prized Penzone: Local salon named best in North America

614now

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You won’t have to travel far—some of you may not to travel at all!—to visit North America’s best salon.

Penzone Salon + Spa in Dublin was named the Salon of the Year at the North American Hairstyling Awards held in California this past weekend!

status = SALON OF THE YEAR. 🔥PENZONE Dublin has been named Salon of the Year by the North American Hairstyling Awards!…

Posted by Penzone Salons + Spas on Sunday, January 27, 2019

Penzone Salon + Spa operates six salons throughout central Ohio, including a brand new location in the Short North. Their service menu includes hair, skin/makeup, massage, nails, and bridal.

Last year, the company marked its 50th anniversary with the reopening of its 14,000-square-foot Dublin salon and spa.

Scroll down to read (614) Magazine writer Olivia Miltner’s experience at the new and improved Penzone Salon + Spa Dublin.


The new Penzone is like stepping into a room that has collected everything millennial women are into. The salon and spa has plants growing on the walls, succulents decorating tables and health juices and energy balls for thirsty or hungry patrons. Local art hangs on the walls, they sell local beauty products, and sandwiches sit in the refrigerator. Crimson Cup coffee, with a special Penzone drink, is served in the “Social Room.” Basically, all it’s missing are cute dogs.

Of course, there are the typical salon and spa accents: around the corner are rows of almost every nail polish hue imaginable. A color station shows clients how dyes are mixed, the mirrors hint at taking an unfiltered selfie and shelves are filled with styling products. But these aspects don’t overshadow how much of a foil this location is to the “O.G.” Charles Penzone Grand Salon just across the parking lot.

The company, led by President and CEO Debbie Penzone, is trying to defy what many middle-aged women work hard to fend off: the wrinkles, dark spots and lost glamour of aging. On the eve of its 50th birthday, the salon and spa company that has always called Columbus home is completely revamping its identity, creating a Penzone that is younger, hipper and more closely aligned with the city’s style.

“It’s electric, exciting, all-inclusive,” Penzone said, adding she wants Penzone’s identity to include mindfulness and gratitude. “We are beyond beauty…How do you still continue to be your best self, and that’s really from the inside out, and the outside in.”

I haven’t been to a salon in over a decade, opting for a haircut twice a year at Great Clips and relying on drugstores for my clearly high-maintenance beauty needs. “Contouring” and “blowout” are not words that exist in my beauty toolbox. But, I have to say, sitting in the new Penzone location really showcased how the other half lives, and I could see how Penzone’s newest attitude could attract folks that would have never considered heading there in the past.

Penzone’s transformation has been happening gradually over the past few years. The opening of its new location was three years in the making, dating back to when Debbie first started visiting other salons and spas around the country looking for inspiration. When development on the new location was stalled due to a zoning conflict with the City of Dublin, she and her husband went ahead with two ideas that in the end paved the way for reinventing her company. First, Charles Penzone opened a barber shop, the Royal Rhino Club, in early 2017. With its 400-pound rhino-head statue mounted on a wall and signature cocktails crafted by Cameron Mitchell, the Royal Rhino attracts millennial men and women to its trendy Fourth Street location.

Later last year Penzone’s first yoga studio, LIT Life & Yoga, opened next door. The space hosts LIT Labs with themes such as “Harness your fear” and “This is me,” where all women rock their sports bras. Representing the company’s revitalized philosophy of holistic beauty and wellness, Penzone said she hopes the yoga studio and the salon and spa will help empower women and encourage them to love themselves inside and out, regardless of size, age, color or other characteristic.

“It’s fresh, it’s exciting. It’s all about community it’s all about being together and sharing experiences and moments, and empowering each other with those moments,” Penzone said.

All together LIT Life & Yoga and the Royal Rhino Club added a dash of urban youth to the brand that became infused in the latest concept: the new location has a patio where Penzone envisions host yoga classes for mindfulness and meditation and a women’s empowerment group.

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Penzone’s locations are a not-so-coincidental reflection of its clientele, and its hopes for expanding into the future. The original salon was founded by Charles Penzone, Debbie’s husband, in 1969. Since then, it’s grown from three artists serving a handful of guests to six salons serving more than 25,000 guests monthly. In its newest iteration, Penzone is evolving out of the suburbs and welcoming not just the suburban mom but also a younger, more diverse generation into its buildings. “We are on fire like Columbus is. I love everything I’m seeing in Columbus right now, that’s why we were so excited to go to Italian Village…That whole area is getting gentrified. I love it,” Penzone said.

The rebrand spans from the font it uses for its new name and its advertisements featuring “ideal clients,” AKA your average person, to its modern outlook on wellness and beauty. The concept will be rolled out at its various locations throughout the next few years.

“It’s not just your outer shell of beauty. You’ve got to be your best you and how do you find your unique beauty and live it,” Penzone said.

Accompanying these changes is an increased intentionality in design and detail. At the new location, the Beauty Zone is an area right in front of the main entrance that features a bar offering blowouts, makeup, skincare services and Beauty Labs to teach quests about trends and techniques. It’s a social area where everything is on display that doubles as a learning lab.

In the lather rooms, squishy neck pads are a fan favorite, and aromatherapy turns a guest’s shampoo into a multisensory experience, a theme throughout Penzone. Stylists have soft-close cabinets at their stations, and each chair is positioned just far enough apart so guests can only see themselves in their mirror. Floor to ceiling windows bring in natural sunlight and enhance a connection to nature that Penzone said the location was striving to strengthen.

The salon and spa is also expanding the services it offers, now with threading, hot rocks, and ayurveda. While having a dual mani-pedi, guests can choose to listen to a station through headphones, even with the option of working in some ASMR with binaural beats. Penzone even makes its stylists work under new names so that each person can easily be identified by clients. Two, Harley and Athena, were working at Penzone the day before it opened to the public in early May, and they both said they were excited about the new concept.

These changes don’t necessarily mean the cost of Penzone is going down; a trip to the salon or spa could easily run a guest over $100. But with all the options for personalization it now offers, Penzone is hoping guests will demonstrate why the company has been able to stick around for half a century already and is ready for 50 more.

For more about the rich history of PENZONE Salons + Spas and for locations near you, visit penzonesalons.com.

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Prime Social Against the World: The rise of Breakaway Music Fest

Mitch Hooper

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In the world of fast-moving trends, it seems music festivals have taken a turn for the rich and famous. What used to be a chance for music fans to enjoy a handful of their favorite artists in the same place has turned into an exclusive party for celebrities, or anyone rich enough to foot the bill for a ticket. While festivals like Coachella in California and Lollapalooza in Chicago feature some of the biggest names in the music industry, that doesn’t mean the Midwest can’t get in on the action. In fact, creators and founders of Prime Social Group and Breakaway Music Festival are here to alleviate this problem by bringing the action to us.

Meet Adam Lynn and Zach Ruben, founders and creators of Prime Social who host a plethora of concerts and music festivals like Breakaway Music Festival. Now in its fifth year, the two have worked together to bring rap icons like Kendrick Lamar, EDM favorites like Dillon Francis, and even Columbus’ very own Twenty One Pilots to Mapfre Stadium. However, it hasn’t always been this way for the two entrepreneurs.

Before the days of PSG, Lynn and Ruben didn’t start working together until they collaborated on a Steve Aoki tour.

Photos provided by Prime Social

“We just took [Steve Aoki] all over the Midwest,” Lynn recalled. “It was just the craziest two weeks of my life. We went from Ann Arbor to Bloomington to Columbus, basically just traveling the country. But Zach and I had really been competitors until that tour.”

The final stop on the tour was Columbus where Ruben is originally from. Lynn, a New York native, said he had never been to Columbus before, but it only took one time to fall in love.

“I really like the whole ‘Ohio versus The World,’ ” Lynn said. “No one really says that about New York.”

In 2011, PSG hired its first employee. Eight years later, the company has locations in Columbus and Nashville while dipping its toes into other mid-size markets like Detroit and Milwaukee. And the world is starting to take notice. Just recently, Billboard named both Lynn and Ruben to its 2019 Dance Power Players list as live leaders shaping the genre. Who needs California?

“If you look at sports teams, what are some of the best sports attendances? It’s pretty comparable—they’re selling tickets, I’m selling tickets,” Lynn explained. “Look at Milwaukee for example. That is a market that will have the strongest MLB attendance of the entire league, but their population is a fraction of some of these cities.”

The hype surrounding Breakaway has been taken to a national level, and Lynn said he’s ready to add more fuel to that fire. In 2019, PSG hosted four festivals and that number is expected to double in 2020. Breakaway business is boomin’.

This year’s Breakaway will bring back some familiar faces to the festival. Both Young Thug and Future return for hip-hop fans while Bassnecter will be blowing out speakers with an EDM set. If you’re looking to discover someone new, Kid Quill is someone Lynn said to keep your eyes and ears on. He’s an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from Indiana who takes the stage on Friday.

“I think that we’ve been around the business long enough that people are beginning to respect us. We’re not just here to come and go and make a quick buck,” Ruben said.

Lessons are taught even with success, and if Ruben can nail down one lesson he’s learned, it’s keeping the festival to just two days. Last year was the first time Breakaway spanned three days, and while it was successful, Ruben said he feels the markets are just better suited for two days...For now.

Breakaway Music Festival is at Mapfre Stadium on August 23 and 24. For tickets, visit breakawaymusicfestival.com.

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Still the Shazzbots: Columbus “kindie” band hasn’t forgotten their retro roots

J.R. McMillan

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Music for kids tends to get a bad rap for good reason. From the Wiggles to Barney, inane to annoying, somewhere along the way, “kids” and “music” became decoupled, as though children don’t deserve sincere songwriting, and education and entertainment also became mutually exclusive.

That’s why parents are over the moon for the Shazzbots, the credible Columbus kids band that might just save the universe from one more infernal refrain of “Fruit Salad” or a hyperkinetic purple dinosaur professing his static affection. Founded by

Ian Hummel more than a decade ago, the Shazzbots began a
live show which eventually evolved into an Emmy-winning television pilot, funded entirely by loyal fans. Their latest album, LIGHTSPEED!, is their long-awaited third release and an apt metaphor for their change in trajectory, marked by a growing international audience.

Kyle Tracey

“When we first started, it was just songs. But I didn’t want it to just be me. I wanted it to be more, something along the lines of Sesame Street, with characters and a backstory behind the songs,” recalled Hummel, whose nautical alter ego Captain Captain travels the galaxy with an acoustic guitar and an archetypical band of misfits in a heavily-modi ed Winnebago. “We weren’t even sure what form the band would take. For a while, there was no drummer, only percussion. For a hot minute, there was even an accordion.”

Hummel recruited friend and bass player Mike “Navigator Scopes” Heslop to help craft the band’s elaborate backstory, with characters whose talents matched those of their real-life counterparts. Josh Tully, better know to kids as Professor Swiss Vanderburton, moved back to electric guitar when Steve Frye, aka Watts Watson, settled in behind the skins. That initial lineup has remained unchanged, but there have been three female members of the crew. Amber Allen as Debora Nebula, Molly Winters as Aurora Borealis, and Diane Hummel as Luna Stardust, who rounds out percussion and also happens to be married to a certain space captain.

“It’s important to have female role models, and you can see from the stage how little girls connect with Luna Stardust,” noted Hummel. “Her costume is still girly, but you can tell she’s a member of the crew. There’s a team dynamic you see in cartoons like Voltron and Thundercats I knew I wanted in the Shazzbots.”

Though the age of their audience has stayed the same, expectations for the entire music industry changed course. Social media was barely a blip when the band began, and streaming services were almost nonexistent. Now they’re essential. But this too is where the Shazzbots shine, a retro band ready for a new frontier.

“After filming the television show and getting it on Amazon, we kind of hit a wall deciding what was next,” he admitted. “So we spent nearly a year creating content for YouTube, something new every week. Kids still listen to songs in the car, but they also watch music videos on their iPads. You have to be available everywhere they are.”

Another giant leap into this new era for the band required rethinking the brand. Matthew Hubbard, one of the filmmakers behind the TV pilot, helped tap into the emerging “kindie” industry, clever slang for independent music catering to kids. Unlike commodity kids bands created to make a quick buck, so-called kindie artists are steeped in the sincere songwriting tradition that predates the digital age. They Might Be Giants and Dan Zanes are more contemporary ambassadors for children’s music with a message, but even Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie released kids albums every bit as sophisticated as their more famous fare.

“Embracing the kindie label, as well as working through a distributor and with a PR person who understand that audience, has really opened doors,” Hubbard explained. “We’re now available on Sirius XM Kids Place Live and Shazzbots albums are in more than 600 libraries nationwide. There are also all of the major streaming services, Spotify, Amazon, and Apple as well helping to reach a global audience.”

The irony of the Shazzbots now broadcasting songs via satellite hasn’t escaped the band. It’s probably impossible to be more on brand. But that doesn’t diminish the analog roots and inspiration behind LIGHTSPEED!, available on CD, digital, and as an actual vinyl record with an intricately illustrated gatefold cover featuring a cross-section of the ship created by artist Joel Jackson, whom many may recognize as the ominous pirate from the television pilot’s cliffhanger ending.

“These new streaming options and the release of the new album have given us more reach and more information than we’ve ever had before,” Hubbard noted. “We know how many people are watching the TV show, which is really starting to take o in the UK. We can see which songs are doing well in Australia, a market that is also growing due to songs getting play on the in flight kids entertainment service on Quantas airlines. We use these insights to decide which song should be next for a music video, or maybe shouldn’t, at least not right now.”

“Having all of this data can be overwhelming, and you can overthink it. It can reinforce your instincts as a musician, but you also have to be careful not to let it affect you too much as an artist,” Hummel explained. “These are great tools to have, but you can’t let them keep you from pushing boundaries by trying to find a formula for success. Sometimes those simple little songs will surprise you.”

Plenty of musicians have been there before, watching an outtake or alternate track that barely made an album resonate unexpectedly, despite prevailing opinion. It’s also why live shows remain the best market research for the Shazzbots, even now that some of their earliest fans are old enough to be in college. Requests from the audience, often songs that may not have the obvious hallmarks of a hit single, still spark something unexpected. It’s evidence that those obscure deep cuts have sticking power too, feedback a synthetic studio-only kids band just wouldn’t understand.

“I was playing at Big Fun last weekend, and a dad and his two daughters were there. The youngest daughter was wearing one of our t-shirts she’d gotten as a hand-me-down from her sister who is now a teenager,” Hummel revealed. “The older daughter still knew all of the songs. It’s something they shared. She grew out of the shirt, but not the Shazzbots.”

For more on the Shazzbots, LIGHTSPEED!, and upcoming live shows, visit theshazzbots.com.

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Having a Ball: Local company brings fairy tales to life one party at a time

Regina Fox

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“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.”

The quote is attributed to Walt Disney, and I think it’s also something we often forget when we grow up. But kids? Without the tools or knowhow to navigate life, believing is all they can do. Wouldn’t it be something, though, to combine the wonder of believing with practical life skills for an experience equally magical for kids and adults?

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, I present to you Amy’s Princess Parties!

Photos by Brian Kaiser

With her esteemed cast of imaginative employees, Amy Kavelaras spins, twirls, and curtseys into the lives of young people with the intent to impress upon them the qualities of a good person—all while dressed as famed princesses.

“I think it’s so magical,” Kavelaras said of the experience.

With over 30 characters to choose from (including superheroes) parents can hire Amy’s Princess Parties by the hour to transform their child’s birthday into a fairy tale-like occasion they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.

It begins with a class on “how to be princess”—walk, wave, curtsy, that sort of thing. For superheroes, obstacle courses and other games are on the menu. Once the party goers have the mannerisms down, Kalvelaras and her cartoon-y crew transition into lessons on what really counts: the heart.

“We really use our platform for good, so we use these role model characters and we try to create an atmosphere where we’re in influencing the next generation,” explained Kavelaras. “So we talk about character values of being kind, being loving, and being caring.”

Parents look on—sometimes tearfully, according to Kavelaras—as their starry-eyed child hangs on every word of their role model teaching them the importance of being truthful, thankful, helpful, and accepting in every situation from home life to the playground.

“A 3-year-old may not listen to their parents, but a 3-year-old will listen to these characters because they are their personal heroes,” said Kavelaras. “We really want to make a difference.”

And as important as it is to drive these messages home with the kids, Kavelaras puts equal weight on deciding who will do the driving. She has hand-picked each magical member of her company, not only because they embody the princess or superhero physically, but also mentally and emotionally. In other words, practice what you preach (Matthew the Apostle said that, but I’d be willing to bet that Walt Disney would agree).

“Yes, technically you do need to look like the character from the outside [to be an employee at Amy’s Princess Parties], however the most important thing is the heart and finding someone who encompasses both is really important to us,” Kavelaras explained.

All this may seem like an elaborate dress-up game for the employees, the opportunity offers so much more.

“It truly makes you feel like you’re not yourself...like, ‘I am this person’s role model, this person looks up to me,’ ” said Kate Glaser, one of Amy’s princesses. “That’s really special.”

And even after the birthday candles are blown out, the magic isn’t over.

“I had to stop at a friend’s house to grab something after a party and there was a kid outside in a [Little Mermaid] bathing suit who saw me so, I got out and talked with her,” Glaser continued. “Even after the party is over, you have an impact on everyone you see.”

They stop at lemonade stands, make Starbucks runs, go to the grocery store, pump gas—all while in character—to bring a little magic to everyone they cross. These interactions, along with being able to make appearances at charity events with both kids and disabled adults are some of the most rewarding experiences for the princesses and superheroes.

“As much as we’re changing their lives, they’re changing our lives,” said Kalvelaras.

After all the etiquette lessons and life courses, it’s time for the tiny princesses and superheroes to be coronated. With the flick of a magic wand, some magic dust, and the promise that they are so loved, Amy’s Princess Parties gives the children the fairy tale ending they deserve.

And they all lived happily ever after.

To book a character for your next party go to amysprincessparties.com.

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