By DANNY RESTIVO
When Melissa Ketchum is giving directions in the city, she references three “people” on a bench.
“It puts everyone on the same page, and then they know what you’re talking about,” she said.
Ketchum, of Hubbard, is referring to three mannequins sitting outside Tri Changes Salon, at 10 S. State St. She’s been getting her hair done at Tri Changes for 10 years, and said the person-like displays are an easily identifiable landmark that draw looks, laughs, and mistaken identities from onlookers.
“Recently, we had a guy call and ask if the blonde was single,” said Tri-changes hair designer Kayla Quinlan of McDonald. “He started laughing and hung-up.”
Although they’re inanimate objects, Georgia, Anthony, and Kathryn, have become iconic figures in the community. Since 1992, Tri Changes Owner Sherry Lakos-Johnson said people from all walks of life have had their pictures taken with her mannequins. One of those included former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
“It was pretty hilarious seeing that,” she said.
Lakos-Johnson said she opened Tri Changes with her two sisters in 1992. One of them brought a mannequin from Chicago as a display, but the salon’s small size made the fit an inconvenience for customers. They decided to place it outside. The sisters jokingly named it Bonnie Raitt, after the female musician. While they were trying to advertise through radio and fliers, the mannequin inadvertently became their best marketing tool.
“People kept saying ‘Oh, your the salon with the mannequin outside,’” she said. “We started getting a lot of attention from it.”
For 13 years Bonnie Raitt served as the Tri-Changes mascot. Unfortunately, she was taken off the street in 2005 because she had been “violated” by vandals, said Lakos-Johnson. She was replaced with Georgia, who originated from that state. She sat alone for seven years, until one of her employees thought she needed some companionship.
“Georgia looked lonely out there,” said Hair Designer Nolan O’Renic, a Warren native, who has worked at Tri Changes for five years. In February, he introduced Georgia to Kathryn and Anthony, who were named after Lakos-Johnson’s parents. O’Renic helps ensure all three are brought outside everyday the store is operating. He even makes sure they are prepared for the weather.
While Anthony and Kathryn are still considered new, “Georgia-Lakos” has her own facebook page with 53 friends. Her employees plan on getting the other two involved in social media soon. Even though they can’t talk or move, O’Renic believes they add a unique presence to the community.
“It’s our trademark and it adds a little bit of character here,” he said.