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In the Eye of an Angel

Salon partners Lester E. Crowell Jr. (left), Marian Crowell, and Tony Lacey.
Salon partners Lester E. Crowell Jr. (left), Marian Crowell, and Tony Lacey.

Three-13 Salon strives for millions in donations for the Georgia Transplant Foundation.

By Jennifer Morrell

For almost 50 years, Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique has been a landmark in Cobb County. The business started in 1974 on Canton Road in the Piedmont Walk Plaza with only nine employees. Nearly 50 years later, Three-13 is located in a 13,000-square-foot space on Canton Road, employing more than 80 people.

“In 2021, we started a full renovation of our beautiful facility with new floors, equipment and décor, and the newest technology available to salons and spas,” says Christina Herrera, director of operations and Angels of Life co-chair. “Experience is our middle name, and we are known for our community involvement. We truly believe that if you love and support your community, they will love and support you!”

As for the name, “Three-13” was created to represent the salon’s three owners, combined with No. 13, which the partners find to be a special number for many celebratory reasons.

Angels among us
Herrera and her team consider those who donate organs to others to be true Angels of Life, hence the organization’s name. But the mission runs especially deep for the salon and its employees. In December 2010, Lester E. Crowell, Jr., managing partner, was awakening from his second heart transplant feeling inspired and full of gratitude. Organ transplantation is near and dear to the hearts of all who work at Three-13.

Crowell’s fight against a congenital heart defect known as Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis (IHSS) began at the age of 13. When he was 43, when his native heart could no longer fight, he received his first heart transplant. Crowell was feeling better than ever when, nine years later, he developed Coronary Artery Disease, a common threat to all transplanted organs. Essentially, he was suffering a chronic rejection in his transplanted heart. In 2010, after one year on a heart transplant list, Crowell received the life-changing call that a heart was found for him.

Angels of Life was born as Crowell began sending messages from his hospital bed to Herrera about holding an event to help people struggling while waiting for and recovering from an organ transplant. He asked Dr. John Vega, director of Emory Healthcare’s Heart Transplant Program, “If I were to win the lottery, who would I donate to?” Dr. Vega’s reply was the Georgia Transplant Foundation (GTF).”

From there, a partnership was formed. Crowell’s mission became bringing awareness of the transplant world to others and helping the transplant community. Three-13 held its first Angels of Life event in July 2011, with proceeds benefitting the GTF.

“Our first donation to GTF was on Aug. 16, 2011, for $31,313,” Herrera says. “During the last 12 years, we have learned a lot about transplants of all kinds, struggles and family challenges. This makes us more compelled to continue Angels of Life. This is our thirteenth year, and we are so excited that we have a chance to reach $1 million in donations this year.”

Shaping a company
To be sure, Three-13 would look a lot different were it not for organ transplantation. Supporting the cause is meaningful to the entire staff. Crowell is considered not only “the boss,” but a person to whom they could turn for personal or professional advice and guidance.

Herrera says that, although not required, every employee participates in some way to the Angels of Life event. “Either they are baking items for the bake sales, collecting items for the silent auction, asking for donations in the form of Guardian Angels, selling tickets to the event, working on hair and makeup for the fashion show models, or setting up and breaking down the event space. Without the help of our staff, we would not have such a successful event and ability to donate to GTF.”

Fashion for a cause
This year marks Three-13 Salon’s 13th annual Angels of Life Hair and Fashion Show at Cobb Galleria. Herrera and her team hope to reach the $1 million mark in donations to the GTF. The GTF is an organization that assists individuals before and after an organ transplant with mortgage or rent payments, medicine costs, health insurance costs, lodging and scholarships. The foundation helps more than 3,500 Georgians each year. In 2022, GTF helped 352 people in Cobb County by providing $285,064.58 in direct financial assistance.

The Angels of Life event draws more than 700 guests and has contributed $850,313 to date. Stages of the event include a bake sale, and silent and live auctions. This year will highlight a series of inspiring testimonies from THREE transplant recipients who have had THREE hearts, by way of heart transplants, including Crowell’s own testimony for the first time at the event.

During the event, Three-13 has four high-energy fashion walks by the models that the Three-13 artistic team has prepared, showing the latest trends in hair, makeup and clothes. Four boutiques donate their clothes for the evening, and this year, those boutiques are Tootsie’s of Buckhead, Fox’s of Sandy Springs, The Ivy Lane in Marietta, and Fashion Cupcake in Woodstock.

Each year, the salon presents the Halo Award to recognize and honor an individual or group that has demonstrated compassion, leadership, and true caring by spreading angel wings for the good of Angels of Life and GTF. This year, Dr. Andrew Krantz from Krantz Chiropractic will be the honoree for the award.

Future without limits
Three-13In March 2024, Three-13 Salon will celebrate 50 years in business. The company will hold a celebration to commemorate the occasion, with events and specials to thank guests and employees for making it possible.

“We will continue to provide the highest level of guest service, while continuing to educate our staff with only the most elite educators from all over the world to ensure that the most current skills and techniques are being delivered to our valued guests,” Herrera says. “As the salon continues to grow both in terms of success and staff members, the staff members have continued enthusiasm.”

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