Curls Salon and Spa owners, Todd Charles, top left, and Mike Fauteaux, seated left, pose for a portrait with their staff on Friday at their store in
Curls Salon and Spa owners, Todd Charles, top left, and Mike Fauteaux, seated left, pose for a portrait with their staff on Friday at their store in Farmington. (John Austria/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — A retired cop and a former salon owner have opened Curls Salon and Spa in Farmington, and they envision it as the prototype for a chain of the businesses.

Todd Charles and Mike Fauteaux opened Curls at 3030 E. Main Street, suite M, on July 1.

Stylists rent booth space by the week. So far, six have joined Curls, and the salon has room for 11 stylists.

The stylists handle their own appointments, set prices, collect money, pay taxes and otherwise manage their booths as stand-alone businesses.

"Everyone that works here, they can own their own business," Fauteaux said.The arrangement carries certain advantages. Fauteaux and Charles have no employees, no payroll and no need to pay for workers' compensation or other benefits.

The owners intend to expand in Colorado soon. They're looking for a location in Durango, Colo.

"We want this to be the first of a chain of Curls Salons," Fauteaux said.

Some of the stylists have come from other salons.

"A lot of time, hair stylists who have been in the business for a while, they have their own clientele who follow them," said Fauteaux, who was formerly co-owner of The Hair Shaque on 20th Street.

Walk-in customers get the next available stylist.

Mary Lowe has been cutting hair for 15 years, and in San Juan County for about the last 11 years. She said she saw an ad for Curls in the newspaper and decided to change jobs in search of a better work environment.

"They do care about their stylists," she said.

Curls also has a nail tech. The owners plan to expand to another side of the shop eventually, adding masseuses and more spa services.

"I think there is a need for it," said Charles, a retired Aztec police officer.

The salon is part of San Juan Centers, owned by Peterson Properties of Albuquerque. Curls is on the west side of the development near Kmart.

Chuck Slothower covers business for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4638 and cslothower@daily-times.com. Follow him @Dtchuck on Twitter.