A modern salon with a 1950s style

Nate Perez

Ramona Potts, co-owner of Atomic Kitten, blow dries the hair of one of her clients in the shop at 1316 19th St.

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

Atomic Kitten may sound like a scary type of cat, but it’s really a cool cat in the world of full-service salons with its extensive services, a ’50s vibe, and a staff of caring and charitable people.

“The retro ’50s pin-up style,” is how Ramona Potts, co-owner, described the aura of the salon.

Kerisa Summers, co-owner, said the inspiration for the salon was brought about when she attended car shows and wanted to give the women a place to bring to life the swagger and style of the ’50s era.

So they set up shop right there at the car show with a booth that was always fully booked with women wanting to be beautified with a ’50s touch.

“Kerisa had lots of friends into that and wanted their hair done in that style, but didn’t have anyone to do it professionally,” said Potts.

Atomic Kitten, located at 1316 19th street, offers everything from a normal haircut to extreme color, extensions, Feather Locks, massage, airbrush tanning, facials, nails, and make-up.  They are currently seeking a pedicurist, so they can add that to their list of services.

“We have a fabulous esthetician and masseuse,” said Potts.  “Our manicurist is an artist.”

They are the winners of the 2010 Battle of the Salons, where all the stylists participated in extreme hair and make-up battles complete with models and runway.

“Everybody was involved.  It really brought everyone together,” said Potts.

There’s a huge maroon check that sits on top of the cabinets at the back of the salon beaming the pride the salon has in winning that competition.

“That definitely was a teamwork thing right there,” said Summers.

“It’s a salon where every walk of life feels comfortable,” said Summers.  “That’s what we wanted, a chill salon.”

Atomic Kitten used to be located on F Street and had a boutique shop that carried consignments as well as new clothes that matched the era the salon was inspired by.  When the boutique part of the salon moved to 19th Street, changed its name to True Grit, and opened as a stand-alone store, the owners of Atomic Kitten moved right next door.

Lumpy, owner of True Grit, said the shop has been open for a little over two years and is also “a ’50s-inspired shop.”  He offers the old-school hot towel shave, many of the traditional haircuts like the flattop and fade, and has recently added a tattoo shop in the back of his store.

Aside from haircuts, shaves, and make-up, these two businesses are highly community-oriented and charity-driven.

Both places team up with the District Attorney’s office of Child Support Services and offer free back-to-school haircuts to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to start their school year with a fresh new trim.

Atomic Kitten held a fundraiser to help a friend diagnosed with cancer around the time of 9/11 and Summer said they hope to do another one next year.

True Grit and Atomic Kitten also get together and host a Thanksgiving Day buffet and clothing drive to feed and clothe the homeless and less-fortunate of Bakersfield.  Atomic Kitten has been hosting this event for the last five years and will continue to do so with the support of the businesses that donate food and the community who donate clothes.

“It’s all about giving back. It’s just my time,” said Lumpy.

To make a clothing donation or offer your help, please contact either Atomic Kitten at 323-7653 or True Grit at 323-8783.