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A SPLASH OF EURO STYLE

A salon owner put his melting pot background to work in Land O'Lakes.

Roy Naccour was born in Lebanon, the firstborn child of a Lebanese-Swedish mother and an Italian father. The family moved to Sweden and that is where he grew up. As a teenager, he had a British girlfriend who was a hairstylist. She took him to one of those fancy hair shows where experts reveal the latest dos, and Naccour was hooked.

He liked the creativity, that each client was like a walking canvas. And he loves making people happy.

Every woman knows what it's like to drag herself into a salon, feeling like crud, all split ends and frizz and wrinkled, coffee-stained shirt, and have someone fuss over her and make her feel pretty, even if just for a few hours.

The career meshes with Naccour's personality. He can find something beautiful about every woman and lavishes on the flirty compliments. They all get a dreamy look when talking about his scalp massages, followed with, "You MUST try it."

So Naccour, who is 26, darkly handsome and speaks four languages, studied and worked all over Europe.

Then he came to Pasco County. And stayed.

"Women need love in Land O'Lakes, too," he says, flashing his trademark smile.

He moved here about seven years ago because his parents divorced and his father had come here. He loved the hot weather. He despises the cold. His first year or so was difficult. His English wasn't perfected yet. Everything was strange, the food, the culture. He lived on McDonald's (though he professes that, no matter what he does, he just can't gain weight. Poor guy.)

Naccour worked at salons and then a few years ago, when its owner retired, he bought J.Joseph Salon, which is in a suite in a strip mall along the bleak and busy U.S. 41.

Stepping inside the salon is like going into another world. It's all dark, heavy ornate furniture and rich leather in shades of hazelnut and toffee. There is a nail technician and a separate waxing room that will open soon. The stylists wear all black. Naccour also wears black, though his finely woven button-down shirt is pinstriped, his goatee trimmed but his cheek stubble and not-too-perfect hair giving him that trendy, coiffed-yet-somewhat-mussed look. The salon atmosphere is cozy, not catty as salons can be.

He swears that he loves it here.

"I do," he says, his dark eyes seeming sincere. But he seems more fit for Hyde Park or Miami. Somewhere with a club scene, all-night coffeehouses, people with funky glasses and well-made shoes.

Naccour says he is married to the salon. His only day off is Sunday and he spends it padding around his house, doing chores and hanging with friends, barbecuing. He lives in Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club in San Antonio - a senior citizen community. (His house is in his father's name.)

"I have had to make sacrifices," he said, being in his mid 20s and a business owner without much time to play. But then he rushes to not be negative. "I love what I do," he says. "It's like being a therapist. I feel like I am close to people."

He plans on opening more J. Joseph locations throughout the Tampa Bay area. He still goes to Paris every autumn for a large international hair show.

His seven stylists attend lectures to keep up to date. They all make sure that when a customer walks out the door, he or she will be able to make it look that good at home, too. They teach you how to hold the brush, how to move the hair dryer just so.

His goal is to bring a bit of European style and fashion to Pasco County.

But he doesn't push it. He offers new things, but he also knows his clientele. A soft balance of different worlds can be seen throughout the salon, the European decor and the Def Leppard on the radio, the complimentary "libations" for clients, the crystal decanter of sherry so pretty on the coffee table ... and the bottles of Bud Light in the fridge.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

If you go

J. Joseph Salon

5132 Land O'Lakes Blvd.Suite 103Land O'Lakes, FL 34639(813) 235-6848www.jjosephsalon.com

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