Although shattered by bullet holes now, the mirrors had reflected thousands of smiles.
By week’s end, those mirrors, along with the slate floor, salon chairs, shampoo bowls, and even the ceiling tiles at Salon Meritage will be gone.
Demolition began this week inside the salon in preparation for the summer’s grand reopening of Salon Meritage. A complete remodel of the interior will be completed, and there will be no trace of the October massacre that left eight people dead.
Project Manager Josh Muller was the first to swing the hammer to start the demolition process.
It was an emotional experience.
“When I found out they were going to rebuild the salon, I got the chills," Muller said. "From the day [of the shooting], I felt deep down that I wanted to be a part of bringing it back. I am very honored to be part of such a special project. It’s hard to describe. I feel like I am tearing down the bad memories.”
A local and owner of Kustum Kunstrukshun, Muller bears a tattoo across his chest, a spontaneous gesture from last fall’s tattoo and cut-a-thon to raise more than $30,000 for the Seal Beach Victims Fund.
“We are a family in this community, and when something happens to one of us, we are all affected. I don’t want one bad apple to ruin it for all of us. I want to take the power back,” said Muller.
Almost six months after the shooting, large bullet holes still hint at the horror of that Oct. 12 day when a lone gunman entered the salon and opened fire.
On Wednesday, Muller, Rev. Dr. Peggy Price from the Center for Spiritual Living and a few others gathered to bless the building and replace the pain with goodwill.
Since the demolition began Tuesday, survivors and friends of the shooting victims have stopped in to watch the work.
“Everyone who comes by has been so supportive,” said Muller. “Several people who are friends of the victims have come by, and they are all very adamant in telling me that this is what [the victims] would have wanted, they wouldn’t have wanted us all to roll over and go away. It makes me feel that we are doing the right thing.”