Small Business Snapshot: The Clay House

Charity Nicholson has owned The Clay House, a unisex styling salon in the West End shopping center for the past 23 years. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Charity Nicholson, owner of The Clay House answers the questions for today’s Small Business Snapshot.

What is the primary purpose of your business?

We are Rome’s first unisex styling salon. While technically we are a barber shop, we cater to men and women. We offer color using Wll-nutrient, Wella, So Color and Redkin, cuts, perms, wash and blowouts, and shampoo and sets. We also retail Roffler, Wella, Aquage, American Crew and Kenra.

What is the business background of the owners?

While I took some business classes at Floyd Junior College I trained under my grandfather Melvin Clay, learning everything he had to teach me form the time I was 15 ‘til he passed away in 1995.

Why did you start (or purchase) this particular business?

I bought the shop because I love working with my clients to give them the best look I can. I was fortunate to buy an established business.

What makes your business unique?

I am the third generation hair dresser in my family. My grandparents, Melvin and Ruth Clay, were both in the business as my mother, Pat Gilchrist. My grandfather saw a new idea for salons to bring men and women together in the same shop. Through training with Roffler he was able to bring this new way of serving the community to Rome.

What do you enjoy most about your chosen profession?

My clients. I have had some of my clients since the late 70s, others I’ve only met once or twice. They all bring something unique with them.

What has been the biggest or most interesting challenge to overcome as a small business owner?

The biggest challenge I have faced has been to get good help that will stay. A lot of hairdressers hop from salon to salon. I am interested in stability, someone who wants to come in to work every day and make a difference in their clients’ lives.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I would like to thank all my clients for your patronage through the years. Without you we wouldn’t still be here 50 years later!


Business Age: 50 years

Owners: Charity Nicholson

Location: 12 Westdale Avenue

Employees: 2

Telephone: 706-234-8311 & 706-234-4984

Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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