By Jesse Wright |
Bertha Moreno knows hair.
For over 30 years, she’s been cutting, coloring and combing hair on heads from around the world and while she is not the most talkative hair stylist in Chicago, she might be one of the most talked about.
For 18 years her salon was based in on the ninth floor in Tribune Tower. Over the summer, tenants of the tower were kicked out—including the Tribune employees—and Moreno has relocated to 230 Ohio Street. Yet at her new second-floor digs, Moreno is still snipping away, Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. into the evening, same as ever.
Over the years, she has cut the hair on the heads that influenced Chicago. In 2007, while John Edwards was on his doomed presidential bid, ensnared by a hair care scandal after he paid $1,250 haircut, the Tribune name-checked Moreno in an editorial.
“The next time you’re in town, Mr. Edwards, stop by Tribune Tower,” the editors wrote. “Bertha Moreno runs a little salon on the ninth floor. She’ll give you a haircut for $15. If you want to leave a $1,250 tip, that’s your business. … She does a great job and she won’t talk about your hair when you’re gone.”
It’s true, she won’t talk about her customers. She has clients including WGN, CNN and NBC talent, but she won’t name names.
“I don’t like to talk about who I know,” Moreno said. “I just like to do the hair.”
Moreno said she’s proud to be able to do anyone’s hair—male or female, a formal or informal style. She said she just loves the work.
“One thing about me, I treat everybody the same,” she said. “I don’t care if it’s the person who cleans the floor or the person in charge. I treat everyone the same way.”
The same way includes plenty of silent treatment. While some stylists will chat up their clientele, Moreno said she’s not much of a talker when on the job. She’ll ask her client what they want and how they think the cut looks, but otherwise, Moreno doesn’t make a lot of small talk.
“I have to concentrate on what I’m doing,” she said. “The customer has to look good, because otherwise I look bad.”
This is also why she asks that people book appointments ahead of time.
“When someone is waiting for me, I get nervous,” she said.
Whatever it is she’s doing, she is doing it right. She has repeat business that has lasted decades and even her fans at the Tribune have been walked 20 minutes from the Tribune’s new offices on the New East Side, back to Moreno’s studio.
One of her longtime clients and friends, Yolanda Ayubi, said she visits Moreno twicie a week and she will not go anywhere else.
“I find it interesting that when she is doing my hairstyle, I feel like she is an artist. I can see her enjoying the process of doing my hair. It’s an art and science at the same time,” Ayubi said. “She keeps asking me how I like it … and she doesn’t let me go until I am satisfied.
“Let me put it this way, her clients aren’t a number. Her clients are people whom she helps with an image.”
Ayubi is far from alone in her praise. Out of 31 Yelp reviews, 29 are five star.
Moreno calls her clients her family and indeed, she gets Christmas cards from some and she has a bulletin board filled with some of the heads she’s had the pleasure to know. Some faces, children in the photos, now have kids of their own and still stop by Moreno’s shop.
Moreno said she’s grateful she’s got so many loyal customers.
“I am lucky to have them, because they are the ones who support me here,” Moreno said. “Because after only three months (in the new location), they’re coming back.”
To book an appointment, call 312-259-4150.