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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Put Controls in Place

R.J.  Duffy is the CFO at Gadabout and she implements the financial policies that support a strict by-the-book management philosophy.

Key Question:


Do everything to comply with regulations.

Business is about rules and numbers. It is regulated on many levels. Owners are asked to tell the truth, files reports, pay taxes and keep records. By being one of the few salons in the country the treats its professionals as employees, Pam took on the paperwork burden.

Q:  Why bother to do the hard things when nobody else is doing them?

A: Two reasons for Pam. One, as we already said, she has been able to hire talent and keep them because those people don't want to be bothered with the paperwork required of business owners. Two, Pam sees the future for her industry and she is ready to face it. The millions of dollars handled by hairdressers that are not now accounted for are being looked at by the IRS.

Think about it

Who makes sure that you are complying with standards?  Do you think that your employees imagine that you have two sets of books?  Do you share financial information with your employees?  If not, why not?

Clip from: Gadabout Salon & Spa

Tucson, Arizona: Left with two young mouths to feed and never having worked outside the home, Pamela McNair-Wingate has created a new reality in the workplace where love and generosity abide. Today, from six locations around Tucson,  she and her team of over 200 professionals deliver the newest treatments from their spas and the freshest looks from their salons. 

The company, Gadabout SalonSpas, is recognized as a leader in the day spa movement both in customer care and in business practices.

In the typical spas customers check in for a week to be pampered, to eat low-fat diets, and to participate in endless exercise classes. Day spas are different! Here you'll find only the pampering part.  Pam has been a leader in this revolution from its beginning and she is helping to transform the salon business by setting an example for all. In recognition of her extraordinary leadership skills, Pam was named Salon Entrepreneur of the Year for the US at the Global Salon Business Awards presented in London in 2004.

Gadabout SalonSpas, Inc.

Pamela McNair, Chairman

3501 E. Kleindale Road
Tucson, AZ 85726

Visit our web site:

Office: 5203229434

Business Classification:
Personal Products, human services, beauty

Year Founded: 1976

Put Controls in Place

PAM: If you don't know how to do something, you hire somebody smarter than you are in that area. One of the things in our mission vision is that we are committed to excellence in customer service and creative solutions. And I think creative solutions have to come from everywhere, not just from me.

HATTIE: OK. (Voiceover) Pam, like most small-business owners, has always played by the rules. She knows there are no shortcuts, no easy way, just the right way.

PAM: We match their FICA. We declare all of their income. We buy all of their products. We provide their education. In return, they receive paychecks every two weeks, and they have security of knowing that everything we do is open. And, actually, that idea, that concept has really had a lot to do with the state of our industry, and I really believe that, in the next five years, we're going to see a big change in booth rental.

HATTIE: That's going to go away.

PAM: It's going to have to go away because it's a underground society.

HATTIE: Right. It's a cash thing.

PAM: Yes, it is. There are different agencies looking at our whole industry, and that's one part of our industry that they're really looking at.

HATTIE: So you think the feds may regulate you.

PAM: They will.

HATTIE: OK, that's happening. So, again, you're ahead of the curve. Again, you're the one teaching the world how to do this.

PAM: Well, or I listen well.

R.J. DUFFY: She's like a bird who has this wide wingspan, and she sweeps people with her, you know?

HATTIE: (Voiceover) R.J. Duffy is the CFO and joined Gadabout in 1984.

R.J.: She is not a person that sits up here and just, `Let's do this, this and this, and you have to do this so I can do this.' She's not that type of employer. She empowers us and enables us and educates us to be and do what we need to be and do what we need to do.

HATTIE: OK, you're the CFO.

R.J.: Yes.

HATTIE: Do you ever look at the costs of all this education and say, `We can't afford to send Jennifer to that meeting'?

R.J.: Yes, I do.

HATTIE: `Yes, I do.'

R.J.: Yes, I do, and we've had these conversations, and invariably the end cost justifies the front-end cost.

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