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Retailer offers reason to let hair down
The owner of Romania Country Bread in Steveston, who sells just one type of bread—the same size loaf and flavour for $10 each—may finally have a kindred spirit over at Parker Place mall on No. 3 Road.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a Carpenter Tan franchise opened its doors in a quiet arm of the mall, selling essentially just one thing: combs.
But this isn’t your garden variety comb.
At up to $200 each, you’d be right to expect more than simply a good grooming product.
Rest assured, said the sales clerk, these combs promise better health, are made of special types of wood, and are designed and manufactured to last 10 to 20 years.
What’s not to like about a comb that promotes better health.
Combing 50 times along the scalp at night can help reduce stress, relieve the nerves and improve sleep, according to “the great litterateur Su Dongpo”, says a poster at the front of the store.
Combing 50 times against the scalp promotes blood circulation, activates functions of the body and refreshes the mind, it says.
The clerk explained that the massaging action on the scalp during the combing process promotes better blood circulation, relaxation and stress reduction.
She said the Carpenter Tan brand of comb is highly regarded in Asia. Carpenter Tan has some 1,500 franchises around the world, the clerk said, and has developed more than 2,400 comb products which are sold internationally.
Carpenter Tan is a publicly traded company, she noted, and has some 80 patents in place.
The combs are made of a variety of tree species, from Japanese spindle to peach to African sandalwood, some are hand painted and ornately decorated with inlaid seashell, and some with parts made from buffalo horn. The more the wooden combs are used, the smoother they get.
Not convinced to shell out $20 to $60 for a comb?
Well, at Carpenter Tan, you’re invited to try a selection of display combs for yourself, sitting on a tray near the back of the store.
While the pricey combs are displayed in glass cases lining the walls, a tiny section is reserved for brushes made almost entirely from wood. And they do sell a few pieces of beautiful wood jewelry, so this store isn’t quite as austere or single SKU—as Dragons’ Den’s Kevin O’Leary likes to refer to it—as Romania Country Bread.
But both claim their products are worth every penny, and at Romania Country Bread at least, it has withstood the test of time, with delighted customers returning week after week.