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Scene In SLC: Richard Surber
Posted 2011-02-01 15:08:26 by Daisy Blake
There are 11 users reading this story right now Richard Surber is President and CEO of Landis Salons and its parent company Green Endeavors, Inc. Landis Salons are located at Sugarhouse/Liberty Heights (1298 S. 900 East) and Marmalade (569 N. 300 West, Suite A.) Surber says he’s looking forward to opening several new locations, including one in Draper, and becoming a major employer in Utah. Long-term he says he’d like to see Landis Aveda Salons all over the country. – by Daisy Blake

What is your background?
I have a law background. I have a Bachelors of Science in Finance from the University of Utah and a law degree from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the U of U. I am a licensed attorney in the State of California. I’ve practiced securities law for several years and am very familiar with running small public companies like Green Endeavors, Inc. I grew up in Florida, where I ran a commercial shrimp boat until I was 18. I never saw snow until I moved to Salt Lake City. I’ve been living in Utah since early 1991. Utah is definitely home.

How did you decide to open a hair salon?
Matthew Landis and I have been friends for over a decade. Matthew is who the salon is named after. It was his vision that we have carried through on. Matthew worked with Aveda for years and wanted to open up a high end guest oriented Aveda salon that would rival any salon in New York or Miami. I was originally only going to be a minority owner but all of the other investors failed to put up the necessary capital. So, I ended up financing 90 per cent of the cost. I agreed that Salt Lake City needed an Earth-friendly salon that provided exceptional service. I believe that my team has created a premier salon experience in Salt Lake. My vision for the future is to expand locally into at least six locations within a 25-mile radius of downtown and then expand nationally under Green Endeavors, Inc. We would be one of a very few publicly held salon companies that caters to higher end clientele.

When did you start Landis?
Landis Salons opened in November 2005. We hit the ground running. The first year out, we were most likely one of the top-producing salons in the State. Five years later, we opened our Marmalade location in October 2010. Our intermediate goal is to open four additional locations over the next few years and dominate the markets in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Educated stylists will be the key to our success.

Tell us about the Marmalade Location.
The Marmalade location was a diamond in the rough. Now it’s just a diamond. We knew that area was under served and had great potential. We took a risk by being the first business to move into that center, but we thought we could make it work- and we have. It had all the right criteria: a strong, diverse local community, strong support from city leaders, good visibility, easy access to main streets and the interstate, and stylists were excited to work in the area. We’ve really taken this location to the next level. We focused heavily on signage, and shelving, and we put in massage wash chairs. All aspects of the business were improved to give the customer an enhanced experience. It is also very helpful that it is so accessible especially on days when guests cannot get into our Liberty Heights location.

What is a typical working day for you?
I work closely with my lead educator Logan Fast and our salon manager Kassie Hill in addition to making sure that my presence is known to all staff members. The entire staff understands that our organization is about making every guest feel wonderful when they leave our salons. It is an artful process to create a clean, and client-friendly environment. I place a high degree of trust in our stylist while providing the necessary tools to grow and thrive in the competitive hair industry. My job is definitely multi-faceted. I always have my eye on quality control issues at the salons while keeping my ear to ground for potential new locations. I am always working on raising additional capital to open new locations. I am always learning and thinking of ways to improve operational systems and the skill set of our stylists all while adhering to Aveda operational guidelines. All of our efforts as a team at Landis are designed to create the best guest experience possible. So no matter how much multi-tasking is occurring, I maintain focus on the prime objective – our guests’ experience.

What styles are customers asking for?
That’s what’s great about our salons. Customers can get any look they want. We have a talented team of stylists that can re-create a look or come up with something fresh. Most of our clients are looking for a fresh look that is appropriate for their lifestyle. By having a versatile staff, we are able to recreate looks for all people and attract a diverse clientele.

What are your ambitions beyond what you are doing now?
I like making businesses work. I’m involved with another public company named Nexia Holdings, Inc. trading under the symbol NXHD on the OTC markets. NXHD owns Revel Entertainment, a local film company. NXHD also has various real estate projects I’ve started. Ideally, I want to dabble in a bunch of businesses and make them all successful.

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