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Business profile: Jo Anne Bell-Graves

Posted: Thursday, February 06, 2003

Title and company: Owner, Cuts Online Salon and Spa

Biographical information: Bell-Graves was born and raised in Sitka and spent much of her childhood working on a commercial fishing boat with her dad and brothers.

"I grew up learning teamwork on a boat, and accountability and preparation," she said. "I had no formal education, but getting to grow up fishing, you get really resourceful and you learn to get along."

Bell-Graves left Sitka to attend Wayne's College of Beauty in Santa Cruz, Calif., in 1969. After graduating, she returned to Sitka and opened her first salon, Jo Anne's Style. She began making regular trips to Wrangell to cut hair there and eventually opened her second salon, Hair Unlimited, there.

When Bell-Graves closed her Wrangell and Sitka salons to move to Juneau in the early 1980s, she had 19 employees between the two businesses.

In Juneau, she started Jo Anne's at the Baranof Hotel and operated that salon for 11 years, until she had a child.

"I think (being a mom) is the most important job," she said. She took five years off from the salon business, and didn't return until she opened Cuts Online in 1996.

Services: Cuts Online offers a full range of spa and salon services. The salon offers haircuts and styles, permanents, hair coloring and straightening treatments. The spa offers massages, manicures, pedicures, skin care, body wraps and cold laser treatment for hair removal and anti-aging.

The salon and spa is located on two stories at its South Franklin Street location, with the lower level for products and the upper level for services.

"I wanted my clients to have privacy," she said.

The salon often hires Valentine's Coffee House and Bakery or the Baranof to cater lunches to the salon's clients, especially in the case of bridal showers and other private parties.

Cuts Online employs nine people in the winter and up to 15 in the summer, when it sees business from cruise ship crews.

Bell-Graves travels at least once a year to seminars and clinics to keep abreast of new services in the salon and spa business. This month she plans to travel to Manhattan Beach in Southern California to learn about new skin-care services.

In addition to keeping herself trained, Bell-Graves offers an apprentice program to aspiring hair designers. Bell-Graves is certified to train beauticians in her shop, giving them the 2,000 hours of experience needed to become licensed in the state.

"I love that part," she said. "That's more rewarding than almost anything."

Family: Bell-Graves lives in Juneau with her husband, Ken Graves, and her son, Nathan Graves, a fifth-generation Alaskan. Ken and Jo Anne have extensive family in Southeast Alaska.

Quotable: "This fits me, I love it: 'Live like you're going to die tomorrow, learn like you're going to live forever,' " Bell-Graves said.

Contact information: The retail center at Cuts Online is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Spa and salon services are available seven days a week by appointment. The salon is at 114 South Franklin St., Suite 106, and its Web site is www.spaalaska.com.

Bell-Graves can be reached at 586-8333, at 1-800-THE-SALON in Southeast Alaska (enter zip code 99801), or via e-mail, spaalaska@gci.net.



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