Hamilton salon owner: ‘We were on Main Street before Main Street was cool’

The woman who started a hair styling and beauty salon on Hamilton’s Main Street more than a decade ago is being honored for her dedication to helping both colleagues and the community.

When the salon in which she was employed 12 years ago gave notice to its eight employees that it was closing, Kym McCaughey, who was paying tuition for two children in college, didn’t look for a job at another area salon.

Instead, she found a building at 401 Main St. just 12 hours later and, with a co-worker, opened The Main Look, hiring all the remaining unemployed salon colleagues.

“I looked at this building and I said ,‘This is it. This is the one,’” McCaughey said. “We were on Main Street before Main Street was cool.”

Since then The Main Look has developed the talents of young stylists and has been a longtime supporter of the Hamilton community.

McCaughey will accept the award for the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Small Business Person of the Year on Tuesday during a luncheon at the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton.

“Her support for the community is seen by her leadership in many community efforts, participating in, encouraging her staff to attend and financially supporting numerous events and organizations in Hamilton,” said longtime friend Judy Shelton, who nominated McCaughey for the award.

Proud to be a longtime Main Street business owner, McCaughey is a member of the Main Street Area Association and said she is always willing to work with other businesses on community events such as Music on Main and Art Hop.

Shelton said McCaughey also donates her services to many fundraisers for worthwhile causes.

“Not only does Kym donate money throughout the community, but she also invests an incredible amount of time and energy into the city,” she said. “In addition to the events she participates in, she serves the community as a member of the Nuisance Appeals Board.”

McCaughey said her philanthropic philosophy of “giving to everybody” is a necessity.

“You have to give back to the community that supports you,” she said. “There’s a lot of money to be made in Hamilton, but you can’t be afraid to work for it.”

Although the demands of being a small business owner are a 24/7 deal, “the rewards are tremendous,” she said.

“I love mentoring everyone, so that has been very high for me,” McCaughey said. “My philosophy has always been … if you treat everybody very well — clients and your staff — and you have a fun place to work and your prices are what you can get, you’ll be successful if you put the work in.”

Shelton lauded McCaughey for her “unparalleled” commitment to customer service and professional development of her staff.

“Under Kym’s guidance, her staff have thrived, becoming some of the best in their profession,” she said. “She is well respected by her staff, who often spend a great number of years with her, learning how to provide the very best services and how to run the business.”

Some of McCaughey’s staff also have gone on to start their own salons, taking their first steps in small business ownership as a result of her support, Shelton said.

“I have three children and I treat all of (my employees) just as I would my kids and I correct them and tell them they’re doing something wrong, but I also tell them when they’re doing something right,” McCaughey said. “We call ourselves ‘a salon family’ and I call them my ‘salon daughters.’”

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