Myron Kunin, the founder of Regis Corp., one of the largest hair salon operators in the world, died Wednesday at 85. The cause was complications of pneumonia, Regis said.
Kunin took over a small collection of hair salons and barber shops owned by his family and turned the enterprise into a global business with nearly 10,000 company-owned or franchised stores, including names like Supercuts and Sassoon Salon. Annual revenue is in excess of $2 billion.
Kunin, who was also a devoted art collector, was chief executive officer from 1965 to 1996 and was later chairman and vice chairman until retiring from the Regis board in 2008.
“We have lost a visionary and a friend,” said Dan Hanrahan, president and ceo of Regis Corp. “Myron played a pivotal role in the history and growth of Regis Corporation. He saw the retail trend move toward the convenience of mall shopping and he began to move the salons out of department stores to freestanding operations in malls. He and his team took the company from a small family-owned business to a multibillion-dollar enterprise and the global leader in the salon industry.
“During the past four decades, Myron independently developed an art collection that garnered significant national and international attention,” Hanrahan said. “While his collection of American modernist art is the most well-known — particularly after the highly acclaimed national exhibition ‘Villa America: American Moderns 1900-1950,’ which showcased more than 70 of his most significant pieces — Myron’s aesthetic interests and expertise were broad. His collection goes beyond American art to include European painting, African art and photography. Myron was well-known in the art world for his philanthropy and was a Life Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.”
His family held a private funeral. A memorial for friends and associates was held Sunday in Minneapolis, where he was raised, at Temple Israel.