Sadly not many Portsmouth businesses can say they have been open for over 45 years, but on 1st November we celebrate this fact with Crew Salon Portsmouth.
The Crew started life as Spencer Crew with husband & wife team (my Mum & Dad) Harry and Barbara Diamond, who
took the helm from Mary Spencer back in 1972 — the year I was born.
They already owned a hairdressers in Bedhampton, which was established in 1968 (the same year my brother was born). I see a patten forming here guys! Don’t worry I was one of the lucky ones, my parents are brilliant and always put family first.
So as you can imagine from birth I lived the hairdressers, from the punks to 80s glam, I saw it all.
In its hay day the shop in Portsmouth had over 30 staff (with little competition like they have now). One of the largest salons on the south coast.
Back then the shop was located in Arundel Street Arcade. An old school 60s arcade which not only housed Spencer Crew but also the famous Richmond grill! This was a colossal cafe which served fry-ups, burgers, hotdogs, and the best milkshakes in town! Above them was the Mecca nightclub which in turn turned into Rizi’s.
Tragically the shop burnt to the ground in 1975 so after refurbishing the lot and the young parents had to start again. Being 3 years old at the time I want to say I remembered this but it just might be that I remember the newspaper clippings they kept about the fire as motivation to go on.
When it came apparent that neither my brother or myself were going to be any good at hairdressing, they employed a new shop manager called Neil Davies in 1987.
Neil came in and transformed the shop into a state of the art hairdresser, one of the first of its kind for the time. Neil and his team put on huge fashion shows and attracted big names in the world of hairdressing such as Paul Mitchel & Wella. They were also one of the first shops in Hampshire to be a Redken flagship store, The Crew Was asked to be the first flagship salon for Redken for development and to showcase a Redken salon and how it should look.
My parents wanted to retire from the shop after 16 years and worked out a plan for Neil to take ownership of the shop.
Along with his business partner Mark Symonds in 1988 they become the new owners and have jointly run The Crew as it’s know now for the past 30 years.
As many of these 1960s arcades have been redeveloped it was time to move the business to a new brighter location on Edinburgh Road. A stunning beautiful Georgian townhouse. This gives the business flexibility to work over two floors which can also be doubled up as a fantastic training space & academy, and from the family of Crew Salon has grown many brilliant established salons in Portsmouth and Southsea and the surrounding areas including.
Marcus Mihell went on to open Two Hair colouring & design.
Belinda Cleary went on to open Medusa hair & now newly opened medusa male grooming.
Jodie Hyde owns Hair at the House in Chichester,
Sarah Poynton Spires in Havant,
Michelle Henderson-Gibbons has Hair at the Terrace,
Jo Johnston has Hair At 339,
Rachel Hardy - Hardy’s Salon.
Neil & Mark tell me they have survived with the help of their loyal customers without them they would not exist and be here still today! Sometimes four generations of families have used crew, some clients have been coming to the salon for over 35 years! And in turn have been loyal friends to date.
The the two owners believe it is a name that most people who have lived in Portsmouth are very aware of what it stands for.
They have seen a shift in the town which once was a huge Naval town to now predominantly university city with lots of shops leaving the city centre.
They feel a-lot of their success has been down to their team with huge commitment they continually educate themselves and their staff.
Now in 2018, surviving three recessions, the shop is still going strong as one of the favourite destinations for people to get their haircut in Portsmouth. With partnerships with Redken, also working closely over the years with Manic Panic, L’Oreal, GHD, Fudge, and working with Sexy Hair on UK on their campaigns which launched earlier this year. Mark & Neil’s Portsmouth Salon managers are husband & wife team, Ashley & Jessica Siddiqui.
The salon has strong members of staff with many of them working over 10 years at the Crew. It’s always a great place to come and visit and a great memory into my childhood!