Mercer Island Great Clips Gives Back$

November 3rd, 2011

Business Spotlight: Mercer Island Great Clips

Mercer Island Great Clips hair salon, owned by Susan Mackey, is a family business that gives back to the community because Mackey said she wants to support the people who support her.

Great Clips
There are four stylists at the Mercer Island Great Clips, and they are all paid on an hourly basis.
The exterior of the new location of Mercer Island Great Clips, next to Noah's Bagels
This past weekend, Great Clips was offering a haircut for only $7.99 and patrons who donated a dollar to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), got an extra two-dollars off their next haircut. With the proceeds from this weekend going to CMN and Children’s Hospital in Seattle, it’s a win-win for everyone. But for Great Clips owner Susan Mackey, this kind of giving back isn’t unusual; it’s just a regular part of her business.

“We’re a supporter of the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN), and we give free haircuts to them, we sponsor the Mercer Island Children’s Carnival, and we’re long time supporters of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA), too,” said Mackey. “We’ve sponsored sports teams on Mercer Island, and worked with the Boys and Girls Club. I always give something if I am asked (by a non-profit group) because it is important to me to support the community that supports me.”

Owner of 10 Great Clips from Bellevue to Bonney Lake and Tacoma to Marysville and Mt Vernon, Mackey was a sports medicine physical therapist and mother of three when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1995.  “He came home and said “This (Great Clips franchise) is a business we can do, and have it stay in the family,” she notes, “And I realized that Great Clips has a 30 year history of being a solid company, well run by franchisors that would be sustainable and local so I could manage it while still being a mom to three kids.” After her husband died in April, Mackey brought her son Michael on board to run the Mercer Island shop. “All three of my kids grew up helping out in the shops,” she said. “My daughters Marisa and Shannon would sweep hair off the floor or work at the reception desk or the computer, because in a family business you have to learn how to do everything.”

Mackey opened her first Great Clips in Kirkland in 1996, and got the Mercer Island salon up and running later that same year.  She chose the two locations because they are in family-oriented communities that have a rural, rather than urban feel to them. “Great Clips does best in areas with a strong family presence…it’s the kind of hair salon where kids can ride their bikes to the shop and get a quick haircut before picture day at school,” she said. “We don’t do fancy $200 cuts or hair color, for us its about people who are looking for a great value.” Haircuts at Great Clips, when they’re not running a fundraiser, are $14 for children and seniors and $16 for adults.

A Tacoma native, Mackey said that the Mercer Island Great Clips moved because they’d outgrown their old spot next to Roberto’s at 2707 SE 27th Street, and they’re quite happy with the new digs at 7808 SE 28th St., across the street from the North-end QFC and next door to Noah’s Bagels. “We did a remodel and got all new fixtures and furniture,” said Mackey. “We felt like we needed more space, and the new building is centrally located with lots of free parking behind the retail shops.”

And Mackey noted that though walk-ins are always welcome, the Mercer Island Great Clips has updated their system for taking appointments as well.

“Most men don’t like making appointments over the phone, so we have an online check-in system app that you can download to your phone or your computer, so you can check to see how much wait time there is, and since we’re always staffed with enough people so wait times don’t go over 15 minutes, you can check in and by the time you get to the salon, they’ll be ready for you, and you will be in and out in about 10 minutes; it’s really convenient.”

Mackey also notes that the stylists take note of what type of haircut you’ve gotten so that any stylist can get you that same haircut next time you come in.

“I think in today’s economy everyone is looking for a good value for their money,” she said. “At Great Clips you can walk in anytime and walk out with a great haircut.”

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