Wauwatosa's Robert Simons Company to close; salon has operated since 1940s

Salon that served generations of Wauwatosans will close at end of month

Robert Simons owner Bob Janowski cuts his daughter Cindy Miller’s hair on his last day of work.

Robert Simons owner Bob Janowski cuts his daughter Cindy Miller’s hair on his last day of work. Photo By Cindy Miller

Jan. 9, 2013

This February, Rosemary Scheible won't know where to get her hair cut for the first time since 1957. Robert Simons Company, 8720 West North Ave., is slated to close its doors for good to make way for an eye specialist shop.

The salon has been a part of the Wauwatosa community since the 1940s. It was purchased by Bob Janowski in 1955 and taken over by his daughter, Cindy Miller, in the 1970s. The salon has a dedicated following of regulars like Rosemary, who was first brought in by her mother-in-law and took her three children to the store.

Robert Simons' landlord Mark Crego decided to end the salon's lease early in order to make room for an eye specialist who plans to renovate the building and has agreed to pay higher rent than the salon. Crego acknowledges that Robert Simons was a good tenant who always paid rent on time, but the new tenant will allow him to grow the space.

"When I bought the building back in 2009, the tenants that were here had been paying rent that was somewhat under market value," Crego said, citing that the salon didn't have a lease with the previous landlord. "The previous owners never really kept up with things and changed the rent."

Crego, who has his dental office in the same building, believes the eye specialist will add to the healthcare theme of the building.

According to Crego, when he was approached by the eye specialist he offered Miller, the current owner of Robert Simons, a chance to renew her lease at a higher rent. Miller decided not to, ending the store's seven decades of operation in Wauwatosa.

Cutting hair for generations

Scheible has fond memories both of Miller and her father.

"It was like family there," she said. "I really hate to see them go and I think Wauwatosa is going to be saddened. They certainly go above and beyond for their clients. They go to clients' houses to pick them up or go to the salon and take them home."

This service, continued by Miller, began with her father.

Miller recalls a time when the shop's water heater broke. They didn't have any shampoo, so Janowski asked clients to shampoo before coming in. There he made a startling discovery: Almost none of his clients had shampoo at home because his store was the only place they'd go to clean their hair. Janowski, deciding he had to do something, filled bottles with his own shampoo and delivered it to his clients' homes.

"He was always a jokester and always fun," Scheible said. "He knew people that we knew and that was always a common bond for us. We would always check in on each other to see how we were doing."

With the store's closing is Miller's retirement. Her staff will be able to transition to other salons in the area, but she will dearly miss her clientele.

"You become like family," she said. "You take care of the mom and then the kids get married and have kids who get their hair cut."

The Wauwatosa location is the last of two Robert Simons' salons. The other salon, located in Milwaukee, closed previously.


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