By Chelsea Flood
To live in a state of paradise is all relative. For longtime Tempe Lakes resident Launie Harlacher, being able to wake up each morning to the calming sight of the lake is hers.
“The moment I moved into The Lakes community in ’92, every day feels like San Diego,” Harlacher says.
Although the Arizona native could not get enough of her (nearly) utopian waterfront lifestyle, she clung to the idea of keeping her professional life separate. Harlacher owned a salon studio for nearly 18 years in South Tempe until her dream transitioned reality, when the opportunity to own a salon right off Tempe’s first manmade lake became available.
“One day in April I dropped in to say hello to the salon’s then-owner and I discovered it was closing. I left that day without thinking anything of it. But then, the thought kept nagging at me because I always wanted to own this place. I knew I just had to do my research and looked into it immediately.”
Harlacher notes that the process almost felt too easy. For every worry she had each one was squelched by a solution. By June she was signing the lease to declare the place hers and now be able to enjoy the kind of “pizazz” that being an owner would bring.
And from that was born—what else?—PAZAZZ Studio.
“Every time I asked myself ‘should I really do this?’, the answer was always yes,” Harlacher says.
Like any business owner, she has tackled various challenges over the last couple months, between a complete remodel of the salon and trying to find the right stylists to work side by side in the cozy, lakefront—don’t forget utopian—environment.
“Being a resident of this neighborhood for over 20 years has allowed me the advantage of thoroughly understanding the type of stylists that would mesh well here. My biggest challenge, hands down, has been finding those right experienced professionals. The right people are out there I know it; I just have to find them,” Harlacher says.
Currently the salon clique consists of Harlacher, who is a Redken Hair Color Artist; Rick, who specializes in men’s hair styling; and Denise, a seasoned nail technician.
Harlacher is pleased with the start of PAZAZZ and the environment it has easily adapted to.
“Clients are comfortable and relaxed the moment they step foot inside these doors. I want this to be a place where people can gather and enjoy themselves, while at the same time they can trust that they’re receiving a high level of care,” Harlacher says.
Calling on her memories of dreading certain visits when I child, Harlacher jokes, “I pointed out to my dentist that people actually like to come see me.”
Looking forward, Harlacher is living in the moment and channeling her energy one day at a time. Her five-year lease will allow her to sort out the usual challenges of opening a business.
“I’m so incredibly pleased to have this opportunity and I wouldn’t change a single thing. I don’t feel like I work anymore. People come in, laugh and leave feeling two inches taller.
“Everyone starts out as a client and becomes family. It’s so incredibly rewarding. I’m open to whatever the future holds and I hope I get to live out my days right here—with this gorgeous lake right behind me.”