August 15, 2011

USA: Gene Juarez enjoying his retirement

SEATTLE, Washington / The Seattle Times / Business-Technology / August 15, 2011

Gene Juarez spent 35 years growing the company he founded before becoming jealous of retired friends who vacationed in Palm Springs, Fla., and deciding to "be a part of that crowd."

Juarez opened his first salon in Seattle in 1971. He said he was terrified when he got a small-business loan of $25,000. "That was a whole lot of money to me at the time," said the 68-year-old, who now spends his days perfecting his golf game. "I was still very young and hopeful, and it worked out. It was never about money; it was about elevating the craft, the art. How can we do this better than what's being done?" The risk he took worked in his favor.

Photo courtesy: Bellevue Scene/Chad Coleman

"I was able to move forward with it, and the salons kept multiplying because we had a unique product," Juarez said.

Since retiring, he says he misses "his people" at the salons, but he sold the company to "enjoy the last part of life."

Juarez makes sure to get to Palm Springs occasionally, and he serves on the board of Plaza Bank, a bank dedicated to helping the underserved, particularly women and minorities.

He also bought a stake in a Granite Falls rock quarry.

"A good friend of mine was a partner in it, and I watched it for years. My friend's other partner wanted out, and so I just decided to step in. It's a great business opportunity."

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