Fantastic Once Again

The sound of trickling water emanates from a beautiful wall fountain. The walls are painted a serene terra cotta color and are offset by an abundance of greenery. Soft jazz music wafts through the air. A stunning mural depicts a harbor scene with sparkling blue water and impressive ships. No, this isn’t a local spa — it just feels like one. It’s the new and improved Fantastic Sams Hair Salon and its conveniently located in Heathbrook Plaza on State Road 200.

Recently, Fantastic Sams underwent a transformation at the national level with a change of ownership. The new owners, based out of Boston, have directed the more than 1,300 salons throughout the country to break away from the discount shops they were once compared to. And they did. By hiring only the most skilled stylists, changing the salon’s décor, and encouraging continuing education, Fantastic Sams can now easily compete with many area salons.

Local owners Fred Osborne and John LaPerle went the extra step, ensuring their salon would stand out above the others.

“Before we could make you over, we had to make ourselves over,” Fred says. “We definitely got rid of the assembly-line fashion that people had come to relate to Fantastic Sams.

“We wanted our clients to feel relaxed and serene the moment they walked through our door,” Fred continues. “And we’ve accomplished that through the décor and the personalized service. When you walk into our salon, you’re treated like a friend, offered a beverage, and provided with a comfortable, relaxing space.”

John agrees.

“Our clients come here to unwind and take their minds off of their busy schedules for an hour or so,” he says. “It’s an escape.”

Attitude is Everything

Maybe it’s the compassion of the hair designers that makes Fantastic Sams such a warm, cozy place to spend time.

“The atmosphere here is wonderful,” says Linda Klein, a hair designer with more than 33 years experience. “I thank and respect each and every one of my clients and I have many repeat customers. A repeat client is a gift; it’s not expected. You’re missing out if you don’t give our salon a try. The serene ambiance and friendly staff would benefit anyone.”

Known as the masterminds behind Fashion Cents, a successful clothing chain in Marion, Lake, and surrounding counties, Fred and John both know that customer care is key to any service-related business. Their motto is “Service and More Service.”

With six highly experienced stylists on staff, the whole family’s hair care needs will be met and exceeded. A full-range of services is offered including cuts, styles, perms, coloring, and highlights. Colors are done with the Farouk System, one of the top lines in the industry. Full facial waxing is also available on site.

“We have a commitment to give the client as much or as little service as they need,” Fred explains. “We don’t rush through our clients to get to the next one. Each person is as equally important as the next, whether they’re in for an adult cut or a specialty color.”

Amid the new feel and look at Fantastic Sams, one of the staple conveniences of the salon remains intact. No appointment is necessary.

“Many people lead very structured lives and might not know when they can schedule some free time,” Fred says. “We can cater to those clients. While we don’t take appointments, we do offer a one-hour call-in service. If clients wish to call an hour before they come, we can put their name on our list. Normally, we have about a 10 to 15 minute wait when our clients can enjoy a cup of coffee or a drink of cold water.”

Spreading the Word

Fred and John also know the importance of word-of-mouth advertising.

“If someone has a bad experience at a salon, they’ll tell everyone they know,” Fred says. “We believe the same holds true for if they have a good experience.”

And just like any salon, that experience stems from not only the ambiance, but also the professionalism of the staff.

“Our people are very organized and very put together,” Fred says. “You are what you reflect. You won’t find any jeans or midriff-baring shirts on our stylists.”

Continuing education is also a must in Fantastic Sams salons.

“My staff goes out of their way to know and understand the latest styles and techniques in the hair care industry, including master color training,” Fred says. “It’s the smallest detail that a client will notice. Each stylist will find out exactly what their client is looking for in terms of their hair needs. Our stylists have an open, easy communication with their clients.

“We also make sure our customer’s hair is in the appropriate condition before we apply certain chemical treatments,” Fred continues. “That may involve a deep-conditioning treatment first. That’s what it means to go the extra mile.”

Fantastic Sams has also reinvented its own line of hair care products in addition to carrying national brands such as Biolage, Redken, and American Crew.

“Our new product line is going over very well,” Fred says. “The products are formulated and engineered to work well with one another and to enhance a client’s color or cut. The scents include citrus and musk and are very appealing.”

In the three years that Fantastic Sams has been located in the Heathbrook Plaza, the transformation it’s undergone has been drastic.

“I’m always looking for ways to improve the salon and the service we can provide to our clients,” Fred says. “We invite everyone to come and experience the new, upscale Fantastic Sams. We promise it will be more than you expect.”

Fantastic Sams Hair Salon
Heathbrook Plaza
5400 SW College Road
(352) 237-5036
Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm
Saturday, 9am-4pm

Weekly Specials
Monday: Ladies’ Day from 3-6pm
Tuesday: Men’s Day from 3-6pm
Wednesday: Kid’s Day, all day
Senior Specials are offered Monday-Friday, 9am-2pm.

Posted in Ocala Style Promotional Features

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