Caro Development is still in Wichita, but Chuck Caro isn’t – at least not full time.
Caro spends six to eight weeks at a time in the Ventura area of California building Sola Salon Studios, a franchise that lets stylists own their own businesses without having to invest in the buildings.
There are two open in Wichita and one in the works.
Caro is working on his fourth Sola Salon project in the Los Angeles area and has a fifth one that will start construction in three months.
“LA can support a ton,” he said.
His plan is to continue building them.
“It’s going to take a long time for LA to fill out.”
Caro Development still manages properties throughout the Midwest, but Caro closed his Alcon Construction four years ago.
He is now working with his daughter, Niki Caro Bakri, who graduated from Kansas State University and joined him.
Still, Caro said he misses Wichita and Midwesterners.
“The Midwest attitudes are really the best,” he said.
Caro said people on the West Coast aren’t as open.
“I don’t know how to really put this,” he said. Caro said that when he’s walking down the street in California, others “have a tendency to turn their heads and not want to have that connection or contact.”
He said there’s one thing everyone has in common, though.
“Everybody’s out here for a dream.”
Q. 1 Why did you close your construction company here?
A. It was just time for us to move on and do something different. … The industry had changed. It didn’t have that warmth to it that it used to have. … It didn’t have that camaraderie piece going on where everybody was kind of working together, even your competitors.
Q. 2 What makes the Sola Salon concept work?
A. We’re the only thing like this. … And there’s a need for it everywhere. We’re finally giving women the opportunity to be in business for themselves, and it’s so gratifying. … Ladies in the salon industry, or guys, are very, very creative, and it costs a lot of money to build a salon, and these creative people always want to do their own deal. … Now, after building up the clientele, they have the chance in their lives just to be in business on their own.
Q. 3 What’s it like working with your daughter now?
A. Oh, unbelievable. She’s really showing me how much she learned throughout her life and is just steps ahead of what I remember all of us getting out of school being like.
Q. 4 What are people calling you these days?
A. I’m called Charlie a lot in California. … It all started out as Charles when I handed out the (business) cards to everybody. … It sounded a little bit formal for them, so they all call me Charlie. … I like Charles, Chuck and Charlie … I always felt like the Chuck thing was a kid kind of deal. … Maybe because that’s what I was called as a little kid. When I’m in Kansas, I get called Chuck. It’s kind of funny.
Q. 5 What’s it like living in California?
A. There’s so many different things to do, and I live right down by the beach. I can see the sand right now, and I can hear the ocean. … The weather is perfect. I mean, I sleep every night, even in the winter, with the windows open. And there aren’t any bugs down by the ocean, which is cool.