Biz Beat

Salon DeVille gets the final cut

Restaurants and furniture stores aren't the only businesses struggling to make a go of it in the Northern San Joaquin Valley these days.

The ripple effects from the housing market downturn, credit crunch, inflation jump and unemployment increase are putting the squeeze on consumers of all kinds of goods and services.

For most folks, pinching pennies means cutting back where they can to ensure they can pay the bills they expect each month and pay the few unforeseen ones that surface from time to time -- whether they stem from an illness or needed auto repair.

There's no way to know just how much impact all this has on businesses that close, but current economic conditions certainly make for lots of challenges. With that in mind, it's sad to note that Salon DeVille and Day Spa in Modesto has closed its doors.

The 4-year-old business at 226 McHenry Ave. shut down a few weeks ago. The Tuscan-themed salon provided a variety of services: facials, massages, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and such. The spa was filled with plants, paintings and soothing music. The other part of the operation, a hair salon, featured a more upbeat tempo with its '50s era rock-'n'-roll design.

Locked up now, the building still has workstations and other equipment in place, although some the furnishings and accents appear to have been removed. Still, there's certainly enough gear there for a new operator to reopen it as a salon.

Some of the Salon DeVille crew moved on to Bang Bang Hair Studio in downtown Modesto, including owner Aundrea Lecher. No word from her about why Salon DeVille closed, but keeping a small business afloat is always a tough proposition, and it isn't getting any easier these days.

At a time when folks likely are cutting back to save a buck, hair care may be one of the things getting trimmed from family budgets. But when you've got hair like mine, trying to keep a handle on it is essential, so I plan to keep up those regular visits to my hairstylist. After all, my hair doesn't stand straight up on its own. It takes some work -- and lots of gel.

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

What is it: 4 Wheel Parts at

5666 Pirrone Road in Salida. Take the Hammett Road exit from Highway 99. Phone, 545-5656. Web site,

What it does: 4 Wheel Parts customizes four-wheel-drive vehicles with lift kits, lowering kits, rims and tires. It has a variety of performance parts (such as intakes and computer chips) as well as accessories (including billet grills, fender flares and mud flaps). Other products include shocks, suspension systems, differential covers and winches. The 2,600-square-foot showroom offers three plasma TVs to view the latest off-road footage from various events. 4 Wheel Parts installs everything it sells and can custom-order parts and accessories.

Who runs it: 4 Wheel Parts is part of a chain that has been in operation since 1962. The Modesto outlet has been open since November. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

What makes it special: 4 Wheel Parts carries a large selection of off-road products and accessories. Items it doesn't have in stock can be brought in quickly from a Bay Area distribution center.

What is it: Pamela Clare Boutique at 3220 Santa Fe St., Suite B, in Riverbank. Phone, 869-0802. Web site,

What it does: Pamela Clare Boutique offers women's fashions and accessories such as sunglasses, purses, wallets, dresses, blouses, jackets, jeans, sweaters and skirts. It also carries house decorator items, bridal accessories, jewelry and more. The shop even stocks items for the Red Hat Society.

Who runs it: Art Mejia is a first-time business owner. Pamela Clare Boutique opened in October. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Individual appointments can be scheduled during the weekend.

What makes it special: Pamela Clare Boutique offers customers a variety of unique items.