Omega Cuts-the Royal Treatment
When I began interviewing small businesses I never thought that I would also get a history lesson, but I indeed learned some interesting facts while getting to know Christina Ermidis from Omega Cuts on Franklin Boulevard. I came to know Christina through interactions at MAMA meetings and noticed that she was present at every meeting with a smile and a willingness to be part of a team working to make Lakewood better. There are those who have an attitude of “what can you do for me?” and those that have an attitude of “what can I do for you?” Christina is in the latter category and the more I learned about her the more I learned where that attitude came from.
Christina’s family comes from a part of Turkey populated by Greeks that became part of Stalin’s 1940’s plan to force families out into isolated areas in order to populate these other areas. Before Christina was born, her family was forced onto a prison train on a 12 day trek to Kazakhstan, near Siberia. They lost their youngest child on this trip and were forced to live a very difficult life when Christina was born. Fast forward 10 years and Christina’s family was allowed into Athens, Greece but continued moving until they were brought to the United States. Their arrival in the United States was made possible by her father’s sister, who had never given up hope of finding them again.
Christina’s mother, Diana, worked 14 hour days cooking, nursing and painting houses. As a child, Christina helped her mom in between school. “Life was hard, simple, and good” she says, thinking back. “We used to sing and dance and share food. We made the best of what we had, which was our family, at the end of the day.” Christina grew up knowing what family, love and hard work meant and spent years working as a hair dresser, including 5 years in Europe as Mrs. Papandreou’s (the president’s wife) right hand girl, doing hair exclusively in the embassy. Eventually Christina opened a hair salon here in Lakewood 14 years ago, in historic Bird Town. When you drive by her shop, it looks humble yet somehow authentic. When I asked what brought her to Lakewood, she answers with a melancholy look “Lakewood was homey and I loved the diversity". She does acknowledge the changes in Lakewood from 14 years ago, but she stays firmly planted in her humble, authentic shop which is filled with an array of beauty products, jewelry and nick knacks.
The first time I stopped in to chat with her she insisted on cutting my daughter’s hair and did a beautiful job. The second time I stopped in she did the same for me. Her generosity of spirit is heartwarming. As I attempt to do a story to feature her, she cannot allow that without giving something back. That is who she is and why we are blessed to have her in Lakewood. No matter how time changes, she understands the energy of barter, the give and the take, the gift of knowing your neighbors. The little girl who had little in terms of material things as a child, worked along side her mother cleaning, singing, dancing, and letting her spirit capture what real life is about. I love being in her presence because her energy is warm, calm and joyful. The night of the art walk on Madison, Christina glowed as she danced along with her belly dancers. She opened her doors with trays and bottles of refreshments and welcomed everyone.
If this business was not enough for one lady, Christina and her husband opened a second business on the East side of Cleveland! League Park Foods was opened three months ago on E.67th and Superior as a window service restaurant serving the best chili dogs a dollar can buy! Christina beamed as she filled me in on more history, telling me about League Park in Cleveland, the oldest beloved ball yard on E. 66th and Lexington from 1916-1926. I never knew that this was where the first Cleveland baseball team played, leading the Tribe in 1920 to the World Series. The history of this place persuaded her to open this little stand, in honor of the 1920 World Series Victory.
If you are on the East side, go grab a chili dog and soak up the history. If you are in Lakewood, stop in and try a new look, or bring your family members for a cut. That hair cut that LO publisher Jim O’Bryan was sporting at the Library gala was done by no other than our Christina. To come from doing hair for Europe’s royalty to doing hair for, um, Lakewood’s royalty, what more could you ask for!
11833 Franklin Blvd. (corner of Newman)
Hours by appt.