After the state of Illinois allowed beauty salons to reopen from the COVID shutdown in June of 2020, Cathy O’Hara and her staff at O’Hara and Friends Salon have been their usual energetic selves.
O’Hara & Friends is a full-service hair salon, and although the pandemic changed the way businesses like hers could serve their customers, one thing never changed for Cathy and O’Hara & Friends over the past 10 years: their motto of “May all who enter as guests, leave as friends.”
During the past year, the salon continued its longtime tradition of serving the community.
The staff held a bed build for Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit serving kids who do not have a bed. The salon’s staff also held a week-long fundraiser for Christmas Without Cancer, a local charity that helps families.
In March, the salon held a successful purse collection for a ministry that packs the purses with necessities for women at a local shelter.
In early 2021, Southland TV and Cathy started a series called “Around Town with Cathy O,” going into local small businesses that took a hit financially from the pandemic and letting them promote their business.
During the shutdown, Cathy also held a raffle to help small businesses recover from the crisis.
As a family business and a full-service Paul Mitchell Focus Salon that specializes in haircutting, hair coloring, deep conditioning, special-occasion styling and makeup 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.
Located since 2018 at 7008 W. 127th St., in Palos Heights, O’Hara and Friends Salon is comfortable yet spacious enough to offer a wide variety of services from its professional staff.
In addition to color, styling, makeup and special-occasion styling, O’Hara and Friends also offers facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures. To maintain their edge on products and technical skills, her staff annually attends advanced-education courses.
Cathy has earned recognition for her skills in business, and her salon has won the Best of Chicago Southland Award each year from 2014 to 2019.
The salon won the Best Business in Palos Heights Award in 2019, 2020 and 2021, 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 abuse.
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 Cathy’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.
Cathy said Hometown Heroes is great for the area, and the city of Alsip has become part of the program.
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 37 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.
O’Hara & Friends is open 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 4 p.m.
To make an appointment at O’Hara & Friends Salon or for more information, call (708) 239-1111 or visit oharaandfriendssalon.com.