Meeting the follicle challenge

Hair stylists can grow on people quite quickly, with their blend of expertise and extroversion inciting immediate senses of comfort. Since 2004, Nancy Melchiore and the ladies at Headhunters Hair Design, 1718 E. Passyunk Ave., have met every follicle challenge head on and have cut the competition down to size to claim South Philly’s top hair salon prize.

“When I bought the space, I really wanted to have a successful business,” the proprietor, of the 2900 block of South 16th Street, said from her establishment. “Recognition like this gives us a great idea of our value to the community.”

The Marconi inhabitant and her six staffers find themselves constantly in demand, with Melchiore citing their experience as what helps to breed such trust. With plenty of proms and weddings occurring in the spring, they expect to continue to primp their diverse clientele with gusto and gregariousness. “I saw they won a Readers’ Choice Award and thought this would be a great place to work,” Amanda Maratea, a stylist and Novalash Advanced Certified Lash Extensionist, said of her nearly eight-year tenure under Melchiore. “I love that we’re able to meet so many different needs because that shows we’re not just for one sort of customer.”

The resident of the 2400 block of South Chadwick Street and her peers also contribute to HopeCuts, a charitable endeavor benefiting cancer and HIV/AIDS research endeavors, and pride themselves on being cheerful chums to other thoroughfare presences, which they will prove their hair and makeup duties during April 24’s Flavors of the Avenue celebration.

“We have grown with the avenue, so it’s great to help out however we can,” Melchiore said of forging friendships.

As for their ties with clients, Maratea credits their consistency for compelling voters to scribble her location’s name on ballots.

“I’m so thankful for everybody who voted for us,” the Girard Estate dweller said. “A special thanks goes to those who’ve stuck with us for years.”

Hot Waves curled up in second place, while Violet Hair and Nail Salon snipped off a third-place finish. — J.M.