Barber shop memories live on through salon

by Sarah Melton

MOUNT HOLLY – Preston Wilson, and his wife, Somer, are expanding their business and one man’s legacy into Mount Holly after opening the William Henry Signature Salon.
But William Henry is more than just a salon to the couple, who opened their original salon in Belmont five years ago. Wilson’s great-grandfather, the late William Henry “Bill” Ballard, owned Ballard’s Barber Shop, a place that served as a place of encouragement for Wilson as a child. Wilson swept the floors for a handful of coins, but what he got in return was more valuable than anything money could ever buy.
“He saw so much potential in me that I cannot remember a time that I didn’t leave him with a tear of pride in his eye,” Wilson said of his late great-grandfather. “He inspired me to use my setbacks as set-ups. As a man of political influence, he desired progress for the city of Belmont. As a man of faith, he desired to infect others with hope and a full life. This attitude and spirit is what has inspired the continuation of his legacy.”
In 2005, Wilson and his wife reopened Ballard’s as William Henry to provide salon and spa services for men and women. The salon grew quickly, from five employees to 18 hair stylists, two massage therapists, one esthetician and two nail technicians. Customers were pouring in, and the couple needed to open a second location.
Wilson had his eye on a particular building in downtown Mount Holly for years. “I wanted to duplicate the same style and everything I had and this building just fit,” he said.
Wilson was also impressed with the direction city leaders were taking the town.
“City officials right now are positioning the city for growth,” he said. “Their vision and research that they are doing for Mount Holly to me is a cut above other cities in our county. That is what sold us. Mount Holly is going to grow.”
Construction workers spent two months renovating the building before opening the salon. The interior was demolished and replaced with coffered ceilings and new floor coverings and lighting fixtures. Custom-made furniture filled the space, built to accommodate 16 hairstylists, and pictures of Wilson’s late great-grandfather hang on the freshly painted walls. Extra space on the second floor remains vacant, but will likely be used in the future.
“We went overboard spending money on this building because we are trying to create an environment physically and aesthetically,” Wilson said. “We want this place to be over the top so we really try to make sure every customer feels like they are our only customer.”
The renovation is Wilson’s first step in revamping a portion of downtown Mount Holly. Wilson and other investors purchased a building across from William Henry. The other building has undergone exterior renovations and will be possibly filled with new tenants soon.
“What we are trying to do is position the salon and boutiques across the street to transform the block into a fashion district,” Wilson said. “(The salon) was the first step in doing that. It was important to get a good anchor tenant and the salon has a good reputation.”
The Mount Holly salon only offers hair and nail services and sells Bare Minerals, Redkin and Pureology products. Ultimately, the Wilsons hope to plant more salons throughout the region.
“We have a vision and are determined to educate and develop future leaders in the field of cosmetology to be the absolute best they can be,” the Wilsons said. “We have a vision and are determined to have an impact in education and quality in the beauty industry in countries of lesser opportunity. We are diligently working to see this dream into reality.”
William Henry Signature Salon is at 104 N. Main St. Hours are 9 a.m. till 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. Saturdays. Walk-ins are welcome.
For more information, call 704-827-1234 or visit www.williamhenrysalon.com.

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