While many businesses have closed due to pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Londoner by Anthony Morrison, South Bay’s only LGBTQ owned premier open-[h]air salon in Hermosa Beach has gone from surviving to thriving.
Owner and Creative Director Anthony Morrison opened the luxury hair salon on Sept.1st 2018.
The name “The Londoner”, inspired by Morrison’s home town and heritage, has added “a breath of fresh [h]air” and an element of elegance and sophistication to Aviation Blvd while serving the Hermosa Beach community.
Having wanted to work in the hair industry since the age of 8 and with years of experience, owning and working in salons throughout Manhattan Beach and Beverly Hills, Morrison desired a space that spoke to him. When he found the quaint space with a beautiful patio that reminded him of home he knew that this was where he needed to be.
With 11 other hair salons nearby, Morrison knew he had to find a way to set his salon apart. Being from London, Morrison knew he wanted to infuse his English heritage into the business with “elegance included”.
When asked what separates The Londoner apart from other salons Morrison said,
“We are dedicated to creating the ultimate experience for our guests. We do everything we can to make them feel like they are walking into a Four Seasons Hotel. My staff are all trained the same so they know what they need to do and we work as a team. We even send some guests flowers and hand deliver them to their homes and send both holiday and birthday cards. We want our guests to always feel appreciated.” This includes serving guests high tea.
Being one of very few black LGBTQ+ business owners in the South Bay, Morrison feels the requirement to succeed.
“The pressure has been immense” he admitted. “To run a business, support my staff and represent myself in the best way. It takes a lot. I don’t shy away from being gay. Everyone knows. I’m even engaged to a wonderful guy. I want kids growing up in this area to have a role model.”
When the pandemic started The Londoner, like many businesses, was forced to shut its doors between March and June. Despite this setback Morrison was determined to keep his business afloat. Going into the office every day to reach out to staff and guests to keep them engaged and to assure them that they are in this together.
Morrison found a creative way to pivot and adapt to the new COVID restrictions by moving his indoor salon outside to the patio space where it has thrived. While many businesses have been forced to cut staff, The Londoner has more than doubled their team since the pandemic began.
“In terms of how we have adapted, it could have been a lot worse,” Morrison said referring to the pandemic. “We are extremely grateful for our outdoor space. Bradley and I have been hiring since COVID and we are still hiring.”
Morrison’s business partner and Managing Director Bradley Davis worked in multiple different industries prior to teaming up with Anthony. It was important to him and the team to make The Londoner a “green business”.
Davis worked with Morrison and Salon Manager Cassie Burdge to make sure all the products used and sold at the salon do not contain chemicals or any other ingredients that would be harmful to the environment. “Actions speak louder than words,” says Davis. “We put our money where our mouth is for our guests and for the environment.”
As of Dec. 16th, after working with Hermosa Beach city officials, The Londoner by Anthony Morrison is now officially certified as a Green Business and has become the newest member of The California Green Business Network.
Morrison and Davis are not only environmentally conscious they have also made it a point to look out for other businesses in their community as well.
When neighboring gay owned restaurant, Ocean Diner, was forced to close due to COVID Morrison and Davis set up a GoFundMe page which has since raised over $7,000 to help the restaurant support their staff.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community Morrison hopes to get The Londoner more involved with LGBTQ+ organizations and charities throughout 2021 and beyond.
Both Morrison and Davis are members of the city of Hermosa Beach Economic Development Stakeholders Advisory Working Group where they work side-by-side with other local business owners and city officials to continue improving the relationships and communications between small businesses, the city and its residents.