is the flagship salon of Santa Cruz County, and almost all of the stylists from its opening day in 1994 have remained.
“Something that we are all proud of and enjoy is that we have almost no turnover," said salon owner Pablo Yee. "Everyone at Kepare is very good at what they do, but there are no big egos."
Karen Hobson of Capitola, a client of Yee's for 14 years, said his creative ability has resulted in several amazing hairstyles. She has even turned Yee's first name into a verb and tells people, "I'm going to get Pablo-ed."
She described one style as a "dessert," with its three different colors. It was a great way to meet people who asked her who styled her hair.
Aside from the high standard of work offered at Kepare, clients enjoy the exotic art pieces and photos depicting Yee’s world travels. Right now, the photography displayed is that of Yee and husband Fremon Best’s recent journey to Kenya, their favorite country to visit of the 40 they have traveled to. In Kenya, they spent time with Masai, learned to speak Swahili and traveled on safaris. Another favorite city to visit is Venice, from which Yee always brings back Murano glass art.
Yee and Best, a teacher's aide and sports official, have been married for 12 years. The wedding ceremony took place at the Ideal Bar & Grill in Santa Cruz with 100 friends and family in attendance.
“On our wedding video, we had fireworks over the water that evening, courtesy of the city of Santa Cruz birthday celebration,” Yee said.
Their secrets to a successful marriage?
“Be teammates, not adversaries," Yee said. "Help each other get and have what each other wants to experience.”
Another noteworthy hobby of the couple is designing remodels. They have owned and renovated two Victorian homes in Savannah, GA, a city Yee describes as dripping with atmosphere, Spanish moss, stunning beauty and eccentric people. Savannah is where he and Best plan to retire.
Yee grew up in Springfield, MA, and spent summers in Bayside, ME, where he learned to love coastal living.
Yee is an industry advisory council member for the State Board of Cosmetology and a community advisory council member for Shoreline School of Cosmetology, which just opened a location on 41st Avenue. He has also been a traveling panel member with Triangle Speakers.
While his travels have taken him far away, he is still happy here in Capitola.
“Everywhere I go is close—, two professional beauty supply stores, , Taqueria Vallarta and the friendly folks at ," he said.