Two salons opened recently to pretty up the downtown crowd, joining only a few that exist.

Stylist Tonantzin Rodriguez officially opened SalonPure earlier this month with the help of business partner and co-owner Rick Renier. Their goal is to bring the upscale salon environment that's readily available on the Westside to the young professional crowd moving into downtown lofts.

"When I decided about two years ago to open a salon, I considered Silver Lake," Rodriguez said. "Then I had a conversation with my uncle, who is a caterer, and he said, 'You have to look downtown.'"

So Rodriguez who worked in promotions before going into hair-styling left her job at Jersi Salon in Beverly Hills for the move east. The Los Angeles Community Development Department helped her create a business plan and find an appropriate location.

SalonPure is in the ground floor retail under Santa Fe Lofts on Sixth Street. So far the main client base comes from residents there and Pacific Electric Lofts as well as her regular clientele.

Women's haircuts start at $70 at SalonPure and men's start at $45. Tonantzin's expanding staff of three also does waxing and nails.

Orlando's Hair and Nail Salon had its grand opening on South Main Street this fall. Owner Ana Ochoa, who is classifieds sales manager at the Los Angeles Times, was looking for an investment with her husband, Orlando.

Their daughter-in-law was a hair stylist and had trouble taking off of work when their grandson was sick, she said.

"This is perfect because if my grandson is sick, my daughter-in-law doesn't have that pressure to show up," Ochoa said.

Ochoa opened the store to appeal to people working downtown so they could get their hair or nails done on their lunch breaks. And Orlando's is open until 10:30 on Thursdays so downtown residents can stop in on a weekday evening, she said.

Haircuts for men start at $25, for women $35.

Market Sale?

Cherokee Inc., a Van Nuys-based apparel distributor that markets products under Cherokee, Sideout, and Carole Little brands, announced last week that it had hired Goldman Sachs to find ways to increase value for the company's shareholders, including a possible sale.

The company said in a statement that it would give "no assurance" in regard to any type of sale or transaction until it happens.

But one of the few analysts who cover the company, Eric Beder of Brean Murray Carret & Co. doesn't believe that a sale is plausible, in part because the company doesn't see hidden value that could be milked in a buyout situation.

"We view the chances of a completed transaction as remote, at best, and the ability for the company to achieve a material premium beyond the current stock price as limited," Beder said. "We believe, for a number of reasons, that when Cherokee is viewed as a potential buyout or acquisition target, much of the luster of CHKE dissipates."

The company has been doing consistently well, with 8.7 percent yield and a market capitalization of $289 million.

In the third quarter ended Nov. 3, Cherokee reported an increase in revenues to $8.9 million. Net income is also on the rise.

Company sells Cherokee apparel in Target, Sideout in Mervyns and Carole Little at TJX.

China to L.A.

An agreement signed earlier this month between the U.S. and China that will allow Chinese travel agencies to sell tours to American destinations is expected to bring 55,000 visitors to Los Angeles each year, according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office.

That will mean an increase of $44 million in direct visitor spending in the city.

Last year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened the first city-level tourism office in China.

Ready to Party

In a move to increase distribution to clubs, restaurants, and other nightlife locations, L.A.-based natural soda company Reed's Ginger Brew, has started selling 7-ounce versions of Reed's Extra Ginger Brew, which usually comes in 12-ounce long neck bottles. The product will be sold in retail stores and at select locations in metropolitan areas for single-serve on premise use as an alcoholic mixer.

Reed's was listed on Nasdaq last month.

Staff reporter Sarah Filus can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 235, or

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