The Full Experience
The Morgan Gerard Salon & Spa
sits quietly on the corner of Annapolis and Giddings streets in
West Annapolis. Inside, it is humming with the efforts of the
45-member Morgan Gerard staff to beautify Annapolis, one pampered
client at a time.
Behind the glass door is a gracious, relaxing space that can easily
accommodate dozens of clients simultaneously---and it often does.
Some Saturdays, three bridal parties are being catered to at the
same time. "We put the blue dresses in this corner, the peach
ones over there and the burgundy gowns in the back," quips one
Most clients come to experience the salon's unique cornucopia
of one-on-one services for men and women, ranging from state-of-the-art
hair styling and color to the most current facials, skin care
treatments, body therapies, massage and makeup consultations.
Still others come in groups to indulge in Morgan Gerard's fun
pre-wedding preparation parties, beauty and hair care seminars,
or to relax with a pal during the popular "Friends Retreat" spa
service. Morgan Gerard also doubles as an art gallery and frequently
hosts show openings for the rotating roster of local artists whose
work hang upon its walls.
Who is Morgan Gerard? Actually, there is no Morgan Gerard, but
there are the salon's owners, partners Todd Morgan August
and Michael Gerard Curry. "When we opened our first salon
in 1990, we were racking our brains to come up with a name that
was dignified and wouldn't get dated in 10 years," explains Todd,
the tall, blond, lanky half of the duo. "'August & Curry' sounded...seasonal.
'Todd & Michael'---nah! 'Morgan Gerard' could be anything. It
could be a bank! As it is, we started with only five employees
offering only hair care services and, today, we've expanded to
offer the full spa experience."
Michael hails from Baltimore, Todd from the suburbs of Washington,
D.C. Todd migrated to Annapolis in the early '80s for the lifestyle.
He happily tended bar until friends convinced him his sideline
talent for cutting hair was where his real career path lay. He
enrolled in a beauty school and found it wasn't anything like
"Beauty School Dropout," a comic musical scene from the movie
Grease. "It was a one-year, 40-hour-a week curriculum,"
he recounts. "Hard, rigorous training that includes biology, anatomy,
chemistry, esthetics and more than a touch of psychology. People
vastly underestimate the amount of training a beautician must
have to be certified."
Michael, shorter with dark curly hair, and no less gregarious,
enrolled in a separate beauty school. The two met in Ocean City
and, soon after, headed to Laguna Beach, Calif., to teach and
do "platform work" for Matrix hair products, demonstrating the
latest cutting and coloring techniques at seminars and conventions
for hair stylists. Yet, they missed Annapolis. "People are friendlier
here in Annapolis," claims Michael. "We missed our friends and
family. This is where we feel at home." They moved back and began
building up their credentials as stylists in area salons.
Late in the summer of 1990, they opened their first salon in a
small space down the block from the current Morgan Gerard. "It
was crazy," Michael recalls. "The day we opened, city code inspectors
were going out the back door as clients were storming in the front."
Within five years, the space had gotten too cramped. Serendipitously,
the property on the corner came up for sale. They bought it, and
then found they didn't have the funds to demolish the building
and build their dream salon. So, for six months, every night after
work, they walked across the street and knocked down walls, stripped
floors, hammered, painted, decorated and dreamed. Many nights,
they didn't get home. "We'd camp out on the facial chairs," Todd
The new salon was an instant hit. Customers love the wash of natural
light throughout the building and the casually elegant ambiance.
Still, the duo isn't satisfied. "We're planning to do a little
tweaking," notes Michael. "We're going to change the configuration
of some of the rooms so we can offer more services. The market
is moving towards a more earth-centric, more natural, organic
way of providing treatments, and we want to stay ahead of this
trend for our clients."
Has all this work paid off? "You bet," says Todd. "The beauty
business can offer great rewards, both personally and financially.
We've built many deep friendships with people all over the country."
Away from the salon, the two kick back in their 40-room mansion
in the Guilford neighborhood of Baltimore. They bought it six
years ago, completely renovated it, and now plan to sell it and
move on to the next project. They won't be homeless---they also
own homes in Rehobeth Beach, Key West and Vermont. When you're
in West Annapolis, stop by and say hello.