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  • Owner Scott Palmer bought the building on the corner of 542 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard after an exhaustive search in Anne Arundel County.
    Rob Odle
    Owner Scott Palmer bought the building on the corner of 542 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard after an exhaustive search in Anne Arundel County.
  • The weathervane atop the building’s roof is the only remaining piece of the business that have occupied the space before Palmer.
    Rob Odle
    The weathervane atop the building’s roof is the only remaining piece of the business that have occupied the space before Palmer.

The Park Salon And Barber Creates A Modern Space With Historical Ties

Rob Odle
View Bio
February 8, 2017

If you’ve driven down the 500 block of Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard recently, you may have noticed a bright new face on the side of the road. If you haven’t passed by yet, you’re guaranteed to notice the modern look and extreme curb appeal of the Park Salon and Barber on your next trip.

Scott Palmer, founder of the Park Salon, was looking to return to his hometown of Millersville after 10 years of owning and operating a similar business on the Eastern Shore. He ended the lease to his property, found new opportunities for his staff members and set out to find the ideal property for his new endeavor.

Whether by fate or sheer luck, a friend informed Palmer that the building on the corner of 542 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard was for sale by its owner, Dr. Carl Rogge. “I came up to look at it and realized it was perfect for what I wanted to do,” Palmer said.

Without hesitation, Palmer called Rogge to inform him that he would like to purchase the building as soon as possible. “He was pretty excited about that,” Palmer attested.

The sale was made final in June 2016, and Palmer got right to work making the space his own.

“Renovation-wise, we completely removed everything and began to really see the history unfold,” Palmer said, remarking that the site does have quite a bit of history attached to it. In the early 1940s, the property was home to a gas station, and in the 1970s, it was bought by Rogge. Once the building came under Rogge’s control, it served as a veterinary hospital from the time he bought the building until it was sold to Palmer last year.

Now, everything in the business — except for the building itself — is completely new, and some additions have been made to the pre-existing space.

“This place had a front porch on it,” Palmer said, motioning to the vestibule surrounding him. “We knocked this wall out and framed it in with doors and windows. This was actually the outside of the building,” he explained, this time pointing out a now interior window box.

Renovations began in August, and, thanks to Palmer’s clear vision of the space he wanted to create, were finished in time for the shop’s November 4 opening.

Palmer envisioned a space where both men and women could feel comfortable receiving a quality haircut or salon service.

“Men have a big issue trying to walk into a female salon to get their hair done — they don’t feel comfortable,” Palmer explained, “so the whole objective was to create an entrance those men and women both feel comfortable in. Men walk into the barber shop side and never have to experience the other side.”

As customers enter through the building’s modern double doors, they are greeted by a reclaimed wood reception desk that is doused in light from the building’s large windows. Behind the desk sits a men’s barber station that retains the modern looks of all of the décor before it but includes seats and equipment that suggest the space as more of a classic barbershop.

To the right of the men’s area, separated by two dividing walls — one with an empty window box and one without — and an open doorway, sits the salon area. The salon space is not exactly discernable from the men’s in ways that are immediately apparent. The space features a waiting area complete with muted but colorful pieces of modern furniture as well as lighting fixtures to match, but nothing about the section feels overly feminine. In fact, Palmer uses the space well to create a comfortable atmosphere for women seeking a pampering haircut or treatment without using any overtly stereotypical features of a women’s salon.

“We wanted to create something that both genders would feel conformable in, something that’s modern and clean but still warm-feeling,” Palmer explained.

Palmer stressed that he is thrilled with the way the building has turned out, especially given its history, and he hopes that the community appreciates the space as much as he does. Already, he said, some have discussed with him their feelings on his renovation project.

“It’s really cool to know that the community and people that come in love it,” Palmer said of the space.

While the interior of building is now virtually unrecognizable to those who have visited in the past, Palmer said he attempted to retain some of the building’s history. “I was trying to think of something to keep, but unfortunately, I don’t think anything was left of the gas station,” he said. “But the one thing that I did keep was the weathervane on the roof. That’s pretty much the only original thing.”

The weathervane, a traditional metal compass featuring a silhouette of a dog, is the only remaining piece that ties the building to the past. The space has seen its fair share of days good and bad, and quite the variety of businesses inside its walls, so Palmer was glad to be able to retain history while creating a modern space for the community to benefit from for years to come.

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