With COVID-19 shutting down salons across the state, Cathy O’Hara and her staff were thrilled in May to get back to serving their many loyal clients at O’Hara and Friends Salon.
Using the motto that has guided her for the past 9 years of running her business—“May all who enter as guests, leave as friends”—Cathy helped others during the trying times of the pandemic.
The salon partnered with Southland TV for informative videos with Dr. Kevin Dolehide about the virus and precautions. They interviewed local small businesses and salons about how they were affected.
The staff had planned to have a bed built in April for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a non-profit serving kids who do not have beds, but the pandemic postponed it until October.
Cathy also held a raffle to help small businesses recover from the crisis.
As her business and her service to the community has grown, in 2018 it was necessary to move her salon to its current bigger space at 7008 W. 127th St., in Palos Heights.
As a family business and a full-service Paul Mitchell Focus Salon that specializes in haircutting, hair coloring, deep conditioning, special-occasion styling, makeup, waxing and facial services, O’Hara and Friends Salon provides outstanding personal service and technical expertise, which have enabled the salon to serve a large clientele, including many residents of Mt. Greenwood.
With its bigger facility, O’Hara & Friends expanded its services to also include facials, waxing, reflexology, raindrop therapy, foot detox, manicures and pedicures.
Cathy has earned recognition for her skills in business, winning the Moraine Valley Community College Women in Business Award in 2015 and the Professional Irish Women in Business Award for Hair and Beauty in 2017. O’Hara & Friends has also won the Best of Chicago Southland Award 2014-2017.
Last year, the salon won the Best Business in Palos Heights Award, and the salon partnered with lawyer Gwen Sterk for an informational night about helping victims of domestic violence. It also held a class about the statistics of opioid use.
To maintain their edge on products and technical skills, her staff annually attends advanced-education courses.
As a friend to the community, the salon has partnerships with organizations such as OSF-Little Company of Mary Breast Cancer Center, Almost Home services for the homeless, and Stuffed Love, which provides comfort and support to all and raises awareness about congenital heart defects.
Another of Kathy’s charitable efforts is to give recognition to America’s military personnel through the Hometown Heroes program, where banners are displayed from light posts lining the streets of a community.
Each banner features a photo, name and branch of military service of each veteran, and families and friends purchase banners to commemorate their loved ones. Banners are on display from Memorial Day through Veterans Day for two years.
Kathy said Hometown Heroes would be great for this area, and she has met with local officials to discuss the idea.
The salon also participates in St. Baldrick’s Day events every year, fundraising and shaving hundreds of heads in the fight against pediatric cancer.
In serving its clients, O’Hara & Friends has conducted informative classes at the salon on a range of topics. It also hosts anti-bullying classes that promote “Be Kind. Be a Friend.”
To keep things fun, O’Hara & Friends holds special events at the salon such as Santa Night, Frozen Night, Haircuts with a Ninja Turtle, paint nights and bake sales.
Cathy brings more than 36 years of experience to her business, and she takes pride in sharing her knowledge and skills with young stylists who are just entering the beauty field.
She is dedicated to hiring stylists directly from school and mentoring them in building their clientele. She loves seeing her staff members achieve personal goals and professional success. It’s always thrilling, she said, to see young professionals buy their first car or move out to live in their own place.
Cathy loves Mt. Greenwood’s close-knit family community and has fond memories of attending church at St. Christina and shopping at the Hilltop Grocery Store and Bakery. South Side Irish Imports is one of her favorite local businesses.
O’Hara & Friends is open Monday, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To make an appointment at O’Hara & Friends Salon or for more information, call (708) 239-1111 or visit oharaandfriendssalon.com.