Eco-friendly business is family affair


THEY SAY TWO HEADS are better than one. So it’s no surprise that a mother-daughter combo is opening the first eco-friendly salon in Montclair this week.

Longtime stylist Mary Ryan is teaming up with her daughter, Sophie, in a sunny second floor space above “coffee corners.”“We feel that we are right in the hub of everything at Eco Chique,” says Mary. “Our windows are our picture book.” Indeed, Antioch Court is the heart of Montclair, and Mary ought to know. She’s had a popular salon nearby (in the Beauty Center) for the last 10 years. But this new challenge will be extra sweet, as Mary and Sophie join the new generation of Earth friendly businesses. We’re not just talking organic shampoos and hair color. At Eco Chique, they’re even recycling client’s hair into oil absorbing mats, through a company called Matter of Trust.

Add a third daughter, Chloe, to the mix, (she’s a cosmetologist who will be hosting parties at the salon and client’s homes) and you’ve got a great business blueprint.

Eco Chique (2071 Antioch Court, Suite 200) will be holding a wine and cheese mixer on May 1 from 5-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and proceeds go to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Call 339-9ECO for details.

In Bloom: Let’s hear it for vegetable gardens. They’re back in vogue and just in time for spring planting. If you want to pick up some great ideas for urban gardens, don’t miss the Hillside Gardeners of Montclair Garden Tour on April 18. Four of the Montclair gardens have veggies. In fact, one of the edible gardens is so big, it feeds a whole family. And here’s the rub: Every one of the eight featured gardens uses rain water attachment systems and other water-saving techniques. Call 530-1681 for tickets and help support one of Montclair’s oldest and most “fruitful” service organizations.Name Dropping: Hills mom Kelly Powers has managed to stage quite a coup. She has Rita Moreno guest hosting the April 23 luncheon for Oakland’s Elizabeth House. Moreno lives locally and is the only female performer to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy. She’s also a delightful speaker, which means diners at the Claremont Country Club are in for a treat. Tickets are $65 and available on-line at

And finally… I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to be a civic leader. I think I’ve got what it takes.

Now before you bombard me with campaign donations, I’m not referring to myself — I’m talking about my cat.

I’ve known for some time that Tonka has extraordinary leadership qualities. She’s an independent thinker and not beholding to any special interests. Heck, she’s barely beholding to me.

That being said, I’m thinking of nominating Tonka for Mayor of Montclair. The competition will be stiff — there’s no doubt. In fact, the fur is already starting to fly.

So I’ll leave it up to you. If you think a feline can win this year, drop me a line. Let me know your strategy for running a pussycat in a dog-eat-dog world.


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