UFO Salon And Spa Celebrates 40 Years In Business With A Party

Paul and Nancy Goldberg, and Stephanie Daniel (left to right) will celebrate the UFO Salon and Spa being in business for 40 years this month.

It no longer sports the space-age decor inspired by the original “Star Wars” movie, but the UFO Salon & Spa is still going  strong after its liftoff 40 years ago.

Paul and Nancy Goldberg founded the salon on Sept. 29, 1978 in Rutgers Plaza on Easton Avenue. This was the couple’s second foray into running a salon; the first, which they started with a partner, did not work out.

The couple stayed in the Rutgers Plaza spot for 20 years before buying property at 798 Easton Ave., its current location. Doors there opened in 1998.

To commemorate its milestone of four decades in business, the family – daughter Stephanie Daniel runs the day-to-day operation – has planned a party to which the community is invited on Sept. 9.

Paul and Nancy Goldberg didn’t start on their journey in hair design until after they were married and after Paul had served a stint in the military during the Vietnam War.

“I started beauty school in high school, in a private beauty school,” Nancy Goldberg said. “We were dating, we were going to get married. I had to quit because he was going to get drafted. I quit beauty school, we got married and went overseas.”

Paul Goldberg decided to enlist in the Army several days after he received his draft notice. The couple spent their first married years together stationed in Germany.

Upon returning to the states and being mustered out of the Army, Paul Goldberg attended school for hairdressing under the G.I. Bill, he said.

“The day I graduated, we opened our first salon,” which was the partnership, he said.

The couple decided that they wanted to create something different, Paul Goldberg said.

“What influcned ne was a shop in Westfield called the Subway,” he said. “It was decorated like a subway. In 1977 Star Wars started, so I came up with this, UFO.”

The original salon was decorated in a galactic theme, he said.

“It looked like a space ship when you walked in,” Nancy Goldberg said.

“There were silver formica walls, stars cut in the floors, globes in the ceiling,” Paul Goldberg said. “We followed the theme for 20 years.”

The Gilbert’s changed the theme of the salon to a southwestern motif when they moved.

“Nancy and I flew out to Sctosdale, Arizona and bought all the art for the walls,” he said.

They kept with that theme until their daughter, Stephanie, took over the daily operations. She changed i to the more rustic look that it now has.

Although the decor has changed with the years, one thing about the salon and the family running it that has stayed the same is their belief in contributing to their community.

That commitment began just a few years after they opened their doors in Rutgers Plaza, Paul Goldberg said.

“In the early 1980s we were involved in the Food Bank, its inception,” he said. For two years, we did cut-a-thins.”

Several years later, at the suggestion of Bill Grippo, Goldberg founded the Tour de Franklin, which has evolved into the Food Bank’s largest fundraiser.

“I started the tour 29 years ago,” Goldberg said. “We made $700. Last year they made $83,000. They have taken over and really done a onderful job.”

UFO Salon has also raised money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, through an annual Ned race for MD on Davidson Avenue.

“We were involved with that for years,” he said.

“We built our own bed, got employees to push it down Davidson Avenue,” Nancy Goldberg said. “That was really fun.”

Paul Goldberg has also served on the boards of the Franklin Food Bank, the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce, and of the former Franklin Township Educational Foundation.

“So we’ve been very entrenched in the community,” he said.

UFO has also offered its services to local schools, doing hair and makeup for leads in school plays.

“Somebody said your parents have always been very civic-minded, they always care about the community,” Daniel said, “I never really thought about it it. It was just part of being in Franklin, doing things for the community. That was just how it was.”

“I think people sometimes just have a business in town, and they’re just doing their business and they’re lucky and everything is good,” she said. “Then you have people like mom and dad, where we’re part of this community and we need to make sure that we’re giving back and participating in the community because we belong here.”

“We live here, we have our business here, and these people are our people,” Daniel said.

Daniel said that she and her siblings grew up around the shop, doing chores, and that she knew that she wanted to enter the family business when she was young.

She said that she told her parents she’d like to go to beauty school after finishing Franklin High School, but her mother insisted on her going to college.

“The first year of college I said to her, why don’t you go to nail school, you can get your nail tech license, she knew how to cut hair from us, you could do some hair and nails at the college and work for us,” Nancy Goldberg said.

Upon graduating from Rutgers University, Daniel took hairdressing courses at Somerset County Vocational and Technical School, received her certification and went to work for her parents.

It was;t just the desire to be in the beauty industry that the Goldbergs passed down to Daniel. They also instilled in her the necessity of contributing to the community. Daniel recently started a program designed to boost the  morale of people undergoing cancer treatments.

“We’re really very proud of Sephanie for what she’s done with the business,” Paul Goldberg said. “First of all, to keep it in the family means everything to us, and we taught our kids many things, but the two most important things were common sense and give back to the community. Now Stephanie is doing much more than we could have ever imagined.”

Daniel started “Feel Good Mondays” after she saw a documentary about the program, she said. The program is run in the salon on Mondays when it is normally closed.

“I decided to adopt the idea, which is for cancer patients that are undergoing tteatment, they can come in and they can have their head shaved, or they can have their wigs shaped, they can get a mani-pedi, even makeup if they want,” she said. “Something to help them during this really difficult treatment period.”

“It doesn’t cost anything to them,” she said.

Daniel said she approached the employees and asked them to help. to which they agreed.

“I schedule everyone with me, and then if more people start calling, I have to call in help,” she said. :These past couple of weeks, I’ve had to ask for a little extra help.”

The original thought was to do it one Monday a month, Daniel said, but the demand has been so great that she is holding it every Monday,

Which brings us to the anniversary celebration on Sept. 9, to which the community is invited.

The celebration will run from noon to 4 p.m., and will feature a food truck, popcorn, games, raffles and music, Daniel said.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” she aid.


Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …