Face It, Denny Kemp Rocks

With a new salon in Northeast, this maverick proves that a rolling stone gathers no moss.

Stephanie Colgan
More than ten years ago, Denny Kemp left the comforts of his creative director role at a powerhouse salon group to open his eponymous salon on East Hennepin. “We were the only one on the block with Cashway,” he says. “It was just empty stores.”

Kemp, ever the risk taker, is at it again with a new salon and spa just a few blocks north in a building he purchased “across from the White Castle,” he laughs.

The space is nothing short of fabulous. Like the beauty business, the new salon offers a juxtaposion—a creative tension, if you will—of the bold and the beautiful. The cutting edge and the classic. The playful and pretty. The surprising and sexy. It’s all of this. All directed by Kemp’s creative eye. Giant goats by local artist John Grider. A nearly life-sized horse floor lamp imported from Italy. Numerous pieces of architectural salvage and vintage lighting. “Our clients have expectations of us, of the salon,” says Kemp. “We stepped it up.”

The basics are here: washing and cutting stations, hair and beauty products, treatment rooms and makeup mirrors. And these pros take their work seriously. But as Kemp points out, the environment reminds us all to “step out of our comfort zone and to experience new things.”

An art enthusiast, Kemp has brought pieces from his personal collection to the new salon. Visit the salon and spa at 605 Central Avenue NE in Minneapolis, 612-676-0300,