Tenacity and perseverance are two traits that have helped FoxFire Salon and Spa reach an impressive milestone—35 years in business. “It was never my intention to be a business owner,” said Karin Walker, founder and owner. “I just wanted to work with my friends doing great hair and having fun in a really nice environment.”
“I was 26 years old and needed $25,000 for the build-out of my first location,” Walker recalled. “I kept getting turned down because the bankers didn’t think I knew what I was doing, and they were right!” Young and fearless, the aspiring salon owner kept applying. Eventually she found the right lender, who by happenstance was also her client. Walker’s parents offered their home as collateral.
The founder’s vision of a high-end salon was the catalyst for FoxFire. The business opened on Feb. 14, 1984, in leased space at the intersection of Center and Orchard Streets in Tacoma. Walker credits her six original employees with playing a huge role in the salon’s overall success. Two still work with her in a staff that now numbers close to 30.
Though Walker describes her start as unintentional, she has kept a keen eye to the future. In 2001 she moved the business to its Fircrest location. She built this salon from the ground up. In 2009 she heard a rumor that a prime location in the Proctor District might soon be available. She contacted the building owner to say she was interested. Just a few months later, she opened this second location.
“It’s been quite the journey, but I’ve enjoyed it,” said Walker. “I’m a people person and have enjoyed working with my team.” She is also proud of the many awards the salons have earned over the years. Most memorable was being recognized in 2013 by Salon Today, the top business publication for owners of salons and spas. FoxFire made its list of the top 200 salons in the country.
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FoxFire Salon and Spa
1912 65th Ave W, Tacoma
2701 North Proctor St, Tacoma