What was once the commercial heart of Fort Dodge is bustling again. During the last three years, the city's historic downtown has become the home to a growing number of small, owner-operated specialty businesses. Kirchner Square, located on 12th Street between Central Avenue and First Avenue South, is a dramatic example this phenomenon.
Owned by Rich and Jo Seltz, this massively renovated venue is now home to six enterprises - Bridal Visions by LD, Studio Fusion, Maxine's Coffee, Salon Posh, Tillies Quilts and The Dariette.
Angela Croonquist and Alecia Moritz, co-owners of Salon Posh, said they decided to bring their new business to downtown Fort Dodge when it was launched just under two years ago because of the ambiance Kirchner Square affords.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Alecia Moritz, co-owner of Salon Posh, 21 S. 12th St., Suite A, styles Addie Baedke’s hair. Moritz and Angela Croonquist opened their salon in Kirchner Square, in part, because they like the ambiance of the building.
"One of the things that we like about our location being downtown and in this building is the camaraderie that we have with all the other businesses," Croonquist said. "We complement each other. Our clients are able to visit the other businesses here because we are all linked together."
Coincidentally, both Croonquist and Moritz became interested in Kirchner Square as a location for a salon independently, before they were in business together.
"I contacted Rich (Seltz) and Jo (Seltz) to see if there was any space available," Moritz said. "Jo told me that there was somebody already looking at it for hair."
That "somebody" was Croonquist.
"It is kind of a cool story because I was already thinking of Alecia," Croonquist said. "I called her to see if she would be interested in joining me. We had never worked together, but I knew of her. We had very similar work ethics. I had three children - smaller children. She also had three children. They are the same age. So doing this together, I felt we would be on the same page."
The two decided that a business partnership made great sense. Salon Posh, 21 S. 12th St., Suite A, was born.
The co-owners are both experienced hair stylists who have collectively spent more than three decades in the industry.
Salon Posh provides hair care for the whole family.
"It's for everybody," Croonquist said. "We can meet the needs of everyone of all ages."
The owners are both hair care specialists. A third stylist, Carmie Halligan, rounds out the Salon Posh team.
Croonquist also does nails.
"I am full service," she said, noting that hair is just part of her agenda. "I do nails. I do pedicures, manicures, acrylics, shellac and all hair including foil, perms, waxing and haircuts."
Whether a client needs a haircut, something more elaborate or nails done, the approach at this establishment is encapsulated in a motto emblazoned on a mirror opposite the reception desk: "Salon Posh - smart, elegant and fashionable."
The goal is quite straightforward - providing clients with an uplift.
"I enjoy seeing all the different people that come in and making them feel better about themselves when they leave," Croonquist said. "You can have a bad hair day, but by the time you leave here we've turned it around."
Moritz echoed that sentiment.
"Making others feel better about themselves," she said, is one of the pleasures of this type of work for her.
Both Croonquist and Moritz stressed that they regard their business as more than just a place to work and as something more important to customers than spot to get a haircut.
"I feel like we are a family here," Croonquist said. "It's not just hair dressing. I feel like we're friends to all of our clients. ... It's not just doing hair, it's being a good listener. They are more than just somebody sitting in a chair."
Salon Posh is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 5 p.m. Appointments are recommended. Croonquist also offers some evening appointments one day a week. In addition to hair care and nail treatments, the salon sells a wide array of hair care products.
The salon and the stylists are fully licensed.
Meet the owners
Angela Croonquist is 1991 graduate of Humboldt High School. She then studied a La'James International College, completing her program there in 1992. Croonquist spent 10 years at Headlines Hair Studio where she was a master stylist and educator with RUSK. She then worked at The Hair Receiver for four years. In 2006, Croonquist created Modern Expression where she said her "love of color and customer satisfaction" brought her to SOMA Hair Technologies for which she is an educator in addition to her role at Salon Posh. Croonquist said this relationship helps her bring her clients the newest trends as well as cutting-edge hair products.
"SOMA ... is a big part of me because of what it stands for and not a lot of salons have it. It's kind of a specialty," Croonquist said. "It's organic. It's pH balanced to your hair. Very few products out there can guarantee that. ... I'm an educator for them. I travel and do classes. ... When salons bring it in to their salon, I go and educate their team on how to use it. It's everything from shampoo to styling products. They also have color. That's what's different about this brand, it's from shampoo to styling products. They are all pH balanced."
Angela and Scott Croonquist have three children, all of whom are students at St. Edmond Catholic School. The oldest is Colin, 12, followed by Carter, 11, and Caitlin, 8. Scott Croonquist is employed at Silgan Containers in Fort Dodge.
Alecia Moritz graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High in 1997. She received her hair stylist training at Professional Cosmetology Institute in Ames. With nearly a dozen years in the hair care industry, Moritz was part of the stylist teams at Professional Hair Design and Radiant Skin and Spa before partnering with Croonquist to found Salon Posh. Moritz has completed Matrix C.R.A.F.T. cutting courses and many Redken color courses. She said she "continues to be inspired by the latest trends and techniques."
Alecia and Matt Moritz have three children, all of whom are students in the Fort Dodge Community School District system. The oldest will be attending the new middle school this fall. The younger two will be at Cooper Elementary School. Addison, 12, is the oldest followed by Ella, 9, and Drew, 7.
Matt Moritz is a physician assistant affiliated with Orthopedic Specialists in Fort Dodge. The couple also are part owners of Crossfit Fort Dodge, a local gym.