Six months into living in St. Louis, stylist Kristen Linares was thinking about going home to Florida. Eight years later, she is the owner of the prospering Thirteenth and Washington, Salon & Barber Shop and is preparing for the business to relocate to a new Downtown location.
Originally from Pennsylvania and raised in Florida, Linares moved to St. Louis while in a relationship. The pair eventually broke up, but Linares’ coworkers at the West County salon she worked at convinced her to stay. She set her sights on a loft and headed Downtown.
“I’ll never forget the night I drove Downtown after work,” Linares says, noting she’d been told it was an unsafe place. “I took Manchester from West County Mall all the way into the city. It seemed like a long drive at the time—now that’s nothing. I went to drive around the loft building I wanted to move into to see just how ‘dangerous’ the area really was at night. It was obviously fine. After leaving the loft building I took my first drive down Wash Ave. The moment I saw the string lights and cobblestone streets I knew I wanted to be Downtown!”
Linares continued to work as a stylist in West County for two years before she says she was ready to launch her own business. She decided to set up shop on Washington Avenue since she lived Downtown and frequently walked from her loft to other area small businesses. The salon initially held a mini boutique and occasionally rented the photogenic space to photographers and local bloggers for photoshoots. The salon eventually grew to eight stylists, and the service menu expanded to include women’s hair styling, barber shop offerings and The Downtown Spa.
Thirteenth and Washington recently announced it has signed a new lease and will relocate to 412 N. Tucker Blvd. Linares calls the move bittersweet, but notes improvements such as a full kitchen and parking lot. “I think our new location is going to be a huge hit, especially since the Jefferson Arms building is going through renovations and sits directly across the street from us. Our name will stay the same and will just be the story of where we began,” she says. “Our move date is set for Feb. 25 and we plan to be open for business Tuesday, Feb. 27.”
On why she selected Downtown for the salon’s new spot, Linares says it was the only option. “Yes, there are other really cool areas; however, Downtown is the heart of our city,” she says. “I love the life the Downtown area has, between sporting events, concerts, parades and even protests. I want to always be in an area where I can walk out of my business door and walk a few feet to the next business without needing my car…I believe in our city and know if business owners and residents commit to helping it grow, people won’t hesitate to visit us regularly.”