Salon owner opens his heart on closure of Talk of the Town

Tony Holmes outside the closed Talk of the Town salon holding his open letter

Tony Holmes outside the closed Talk of the Town salon holding his open letter

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

TALK of the Town’s owner for more than 40 years, Tony Holmes, has admitted the last few years have been “distressing” in the lead-up to the demise of his hair and beauty salon.

The Devizes Road salon has been owned by Tony since the late 1960s, but he handed over the day-to-day control to his son and daughter in 2002.

He refused to discuss the reasons why the decision was reached to close for the final time last Wednesday, choosing instead to thank ex-employees and customers in an open letter.

In the closing lines of his letter, Tony only hinted at the difficulties he and his wife Carole have experienced.

“The last years have been very distressing for Carole and myself,” he said.

“We are happy most of the staff working on the day it closed were able to find employment in Old Town, and the two or three who haven’t yet should be able to find work given their client base.”

He instead chose to reflect on the former glories of the salon he and his wife turned into a successful business, complete with solarium, sauna and spa bath.

He said: “I have to say, we had such fun. All the hard work never seemed like hard work. All the amazing staff we had the pleasure of working with, I only wish I could name you all, but I hope you will know we will never forget each of you that gave us those memories.”

Tony oversaw a rise at the salon after he took it on in the late 60s, after he began working there as a barber in 1959.

At that time it was known as Dodgson’s Barber Shop, which was owned by two brothers. It was their father who had started that business in 1893.

When they offered to sell it to him, Tony used his family’s bungalow as security to get a loan to buy the business and Talk of the Town was born.

He said growth was steady, with always one employee on the books more than they needed, to keep waiting times low.

Tony eventually bought the properties on either side of the original barber shop and created the salon people now see.

At its height, the salon employed close to 40 staff.

“We always kept the prices right. If you had bums on seats, if you were busy, you didn’t need to charge high prices,” he said.

“The customers loved it and the atmosphere in there kept them coming back.”

Tony said he would now look to sell the property.

Comments (8)

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8:22am Sat 21 Jun 14

EastleazeRed says...

It was never the same after Tony left , don't think he's son had a clue how to run a business .
It was never the same after Tony left , don't think he's son had a clue how to run a business . EastleazeRed
  • Score: -17

10:23am Sat 21 Jun 14

Localboy86 says...

I don't know anyone involved and I have never used TOTT but Tony seems like an absolute diamond geezer and I really hope he can put this behind him, enjoy his retirement and remember the good times :)
I don't know anyone involved and I have never used TOTT but Tony seems like an absolute diamond geezer and I really hope he can put this behind him, enjoy his retirement and remember the good times :) Localboy86
  • Score: 9

1:10pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Stovepipe says...

When I had hair I used to enjoy going there, always a great cut. Thanks to all the staff.
When I had hair I used to enjoy going there, always a great cut. Thanks to all the staff. Stovepipe
  • Score: 8

2:49pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Stevecowley64 says...

The best boss in the entire world, even tho i gave him 16 years of hell. If ya fancy doing it all again call me!!!!!
The best boss in the entire world, even tho i gave him 16 years of hell. If ya fancy doing it all again call me!!!!! Stevecowley64
  • Score: 5

8:10pm Sat 21 Jun 14

PMason1 says...

It was a fantastic place to work always professional but always lots of fun. Great start to my career in hairdressing and a fantastic opportunity given to me by Tony who I will always be grateful to.
Peter Mason
It was a fantastic place to work always professional but always lots of fun. Great start to my career in hairdressing and a fantastic opportunity given to me by Tony who I will always be grateful to. Peter Mason PMason1
  • Score: 9

10:46pm Sat 21 Jun 14

ella23 says...

So sad to hear this news...I was one of the first employees way back in the late 70's. It was never like going to work, we always worked hard but it was like being part of a happy family. Me, Tony, Derek and Julie. I went on to have a successful hairdressing career and worked all over Europe. It was Tony who took me under his wing, I was only 16, and Carol . Thank you for all you did for me. Much love to you all. Denise W.xx
So sad to hear this news...I was one of the first employees way back in the late 70's. It was never like going to work, we always worked hard but it was like being part of a happy family. Me, Tony, Derek and Julie. I went on to have a successful hairdressing career and worked all over Europe. It was Tony who took me under his wing, I was only 16, and Carol . Thank you for all you did for me. Much love to you all. Denise W.xx ella23
  • Score: 6

4:07pm Sun 22 Jun 14

johnnyfisher says...

My life long memory at TOTT in my mid twenties is Tony Holmes giving me a curly perm with Snowy Flitton taking the mickey working on the glass roof above!!! (Great days!!!) Thanks Tony.
My life long memory at TOTT in my mid twenties is Tony Holmes giving me a curly perm with Snowy Flitton taking the mickey working on the glass roof above!!! (Great days!!!) Thanks Tony. johnnyfisher
  • Score: 4

12:49pm Mon 23 Jun 14

Dust says...

Fair play to Tony for not getting drawn into the reasons behind the closure. It's patently obvious however that the feud between his son and daughter is what caused it. Check the comments on the other article from last week...

http://www.swindonad
vertiser.co.uk/news/
11275127.I_poached_n
obody__says_new_hair
_salon_boss/
Fair play to Tony for not getting drawn into the reasons behind the closure. It's patently obvious however that the feud between his son and daughter is what caused it. Check the comments on the other article from last week... http://www.swindonad vertiser.co.uk/news/ 11275127.I_poached_n obody__says_new_hair _salon_boss/ Dust
  • Score: 2

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