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DailyTidings.com
  • Ashland man puts up light displays for the holidays

    Ashland salon owner takes to holiday light installation
  • Kevin Huggins, 52, runs a hair salon and spa business in Ashland. Little did he know 10 years ago when his now ex-wife begged him to get a 9 to 5 job that it would turn into a thriving new side business.
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  • Kevin Huggins, 52, runs a hair salon and spa business in Ashland. Little did he know 10 years ago when his now ex-wife begged him to get a 9 to 5 job that it would turn into a thriving new side business.
    He and his crew install holiday lighting and other decorations for a growing list of clients, including the Rogue Valley Mall, Rogue Valley Manor, Harry and David and a few residential jobs.
    Irregular hours at the salon prompted his wife's plea, Huggins says. Figuring he could delegate more of the salon business to his staff, he acquiesced and applied for work at Harry and David.
    "They put me right to work in Candyland," he says, comparing the job to an "I Love Lucy" episode in which a panicked Lucy and Ethel stuff chocolates in their mouths, blouses and hats.
    "I worked on a conveyor belt, placing chocolates into boxes lined with plastic trays. Sometimes it was hard to keep up."
    He'd work an early shift at the plant and then cut hair in the afternoons, but it wasn't long before he started applying for other Harry and David departments.
    "I definitely wanted to get out of Candyland," he says, laughing.
    Every day he'd visit another Harry and David department, do some research, go home and prepare a resume just for that department. He landed in maintenance.
    "It was soon after that when they told me, 'Have we got a job for you!' They wanted me to put up the Christmas lights on the 13 buildings in the Harry and David complex." Here are the lights, go put them up, they told him.
    He learned as he went, calling on his limited experience decorating the salon for the holidays, a familiarity with hydraulics to run lifts and other equipment, and experience running a crew when he used to salmon fish in Alaska.
    Though Huggins was laid off, he got the urge to decorate again the following holiday season. He enjoyed the creative outlet. And the extra money.
    "So I approached Harry and David as an independent contractor, and was hired to do the lighting job again," he says.
    They liked his work. He thought other people would, too. So by word of mouth, he began to grow the business.
    "I took on some homes, got a car dealership, and continued to do the 13 buildings at Harry and David," he says.
    Today his client list includes the Rogue Valley Manor and Rogue Valley Mall, in addition to Harry and David, and he was called upon to decorate The Commons for the Medford Winter Lights Festival.
    "This year we're working with the mall crew to do the inside, too," he says.
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