Councilmember Burch serves up his passions

Published 8:50 pm Saturday, October 20, 2018


(Editor’s note: Attempts to reach Councilmember Bill Mello by phone and email were unsuccessful. This series is a way for residents to know a little more about their council members and how to reach them when they had an issue.  Next week, we will conclude the series with Mayor Larry Spears Jr.)


By Krista Chandler

The Orange Leader


Paul Burch is one of those people who can manifest his passions into not only a career for himself but in ways that serve and benefit his community.

The lifelong resident of Orange, one of two at-large City Councilmembers and owner of Lookin’ Good Salon on 16th Street began serving the community – and his affection for looking good – as a high school sophomore in the early 1980’s who cut hair for free at the local nursing homes as part of his cosmetology class.

When he opened his own salon, it was families who remembered him from the nursing home that patronized his business. Burch said, “salon talk” has always given him an inside perspective and scoop on what’s going on in Orange, which in turn inspires him to help and create change.

Burch said one of the keys to his ongoing success is a little life lesson one of his instructors told him: “To always be honest and real, to not hold things back. From day one I have always lived my life like that. I am who I am.”

He married “his love” around two years ago, and said being openly gay in Orange has opened doors for bridging communication with the community, and that he has never felt shunned or looked down upon.

That’s why, he said, he loves Orange. According to Burch, it’s a classic small town with that added bit of charm. In his rare free time, he enjoys hosting estate sales and collecting antiques and decorating his surroundings.

Since he’s been on the council, one of the most important issues to him has been cleaning up the streets of Orange, particularly the main thoroughfare of 16th Street where most visitors see first, and where his salon is located.

“I’m all about looks,” he said, laughing. “For people to respect and travel through Orange, and stop and look at our city, we have to clean up Orange and get everything looking great. Helping to grow Orange is what I want to do.”

Between serving on the board of directors for the local Salvation Army, the Orange Community Players, Friends of the Depot and all the other things he has his hands on, Burch said the current council “is on fire.”

“We’re not easily intimidated,” he said. “We are all working really hard, and we are going to do what’s best for our community because we live here, too.”

Burch said residents could stop by his salon for a fresh cut or reach out to him on Facebook to discuss citywide issues or to say hello at any time.