Blah Blah Blog
By Wendy Weinstein
Party at Ground Zero Mt. Airy
35 years of bringing the community together
When I was a little girl, the toys that I played with all had one thing in common. There were the Barbie dolls with their shiny blonde hair, the Flatsy doll with their long, brightly colored ‘dos, and the Chrissy doll (remember that one, where if you put your finger in her belly button, her hair grew out of the top of her head?) Something drew me to styling their hair and I remember that it put me in my happy place.
When I got older, I became fascinated with my mom’s wig – “A Fall” it was called. I remember everything about it. The round wig box it came in. The shiny long black hair that swished back and forth. The wide headband that held the whole thing together and the styrofoam head that it was placed on. One of the main reasons I loved it because it was straight and long and my own hair was short and curly.
I’m not sure what motivated me, but one day I cut Fall’s hair into a short bob. I suppose that was the first haircut I gave. Let’s just say Ruthie was NOT happy.
Fast forward to my first real haircut by a professional that went disastrously wrong, to the hairdresser that changed my life and ultimately sent me in the direction of hairdressing as a career. He taught me how to tame my mane and create styles for all my friends with the same type of hair. I loved making my friends look good for all their proms and parties. After a year of college and a whole lotta convincing to Ruthie and Sonny I decided to go to hair school. The catch phrase for that school was, “It’s a beautiful life if you like what you do,” and I can definitely say that after 40 years in this biz, that’s still the truth.
If you don’t know my story, I worked in Reading, PA, Charlottesville and Richmond, VA, and then settled back into a salon on Penn’s campus. I opened my first Ground Zero Hair Salon in Powelton Village. The second salon was in Manayunk, the third in Conshohocken. Then South Street, Chestnut Hill, and Center City. And now I’m in what I like to call my final resting place, in the cool little town of Mt Airy.
I franchised and at one point had five different owners and many stylists that were on our teams. Even though there are only two salons running with the GZ brand currently, the alumni of GZ salons have branched out to own many of the top salons in the Philly area. Special shout out to the Powelton Village clients as they followed me around to all six locations.
It’s been quite a ride…I look back at all the talented people that I had the fortune to work with and help with their careers. My whole career has been such a blessing and each salon’s neighborhood welcomed our staff as family. What I remember most about all of the people that worked for me was their commitment to giving back to our communities. We raised so much money for so many through our charitable events and campaigns.
This year marks Ground Zero’s 35th Anniversary. Every five years since the 20th anniversary we’ve thrown a celebration to bring the community together for some kind of fundraiser. We had the Black and White Ball for Jefferson Hospital as well as two more for Penn Vet School’s Shelter program.
I bought the building that the salon currently is in three years ago and I was asked to be on the board of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District three months ago. I gladly accepted. I wanted to be part of a group that was making improvements for safety, inclusion, growth, and the well-being of the people that live in the community.
At one of the first meetings I attended, I learned that the BID approved a nice chunk of change to be put towards lighting up the trees on Germantown Avenue. It was so exciting as I have been asking if we could light the trees for a while now – I go through Chestnut Hill every night on my way home and love the magical feeling I get when driving through all the lit-up trees. It looks alive and festive all year long.
Plus, the lights will help make the streets safer at night.
I heard from a client of mine that Chestnut Hill had a fundraiser to help with the expense. Well, that got my wheels rolling, and even though I swore off big parties, I thought I could pull off one more. This one’s dedicated to getting the Germantown Avenue Commercial Corridor in Mt. Airy lit.
At first, I thought I wouldn’t have enough time as these events take a long time to organize, but after watching the Hallmark Channel every day for the past two months (I wish I was kidding), I figured if Lacey Chabert can pull together a shindig in less than two weeks, I can certainly do it in seven months. And I know I can count on my wonderful community of fellow hairdressers, loyal clients, and Philadelphians to show up and support the betterment of our neighborhood.
Ground Zero Salons have been bringing the community together for the past 35 years, and in this day and age where people have become so disconnected with each other, I thought, what better way to bring people out to celebrate a business that’s 35 years strong, and make a difference to the streetscape of a wonderful community?
The details will come shortly after we finalize a venue for October. Thank you all in advance!
If you would like to be on a committee to help organize this event, please contact me at email@example.com