MANCHESTER, NH – South of the 6, which recently celebrated its grand opening, is bringing a vibrant non-toxic salon and coffee bar experience to the Millyard. For owner Kate Mackenize, it’s more than just a business; it’s a testament to her experiences and history in both Toronto, ON, and Manchester.
MacKenzie’s background in Toronto, a city she describes as “world-class, electric, inclusive, cosmopolitan, and innovative,” played a pivotal role in shaping the culture of South of the 6. She wanted her business to embody all the dynamic qualities of Toronto and provide a memorable salon experience. “This business is my love letter to Manchester inspired by Toronto,” she said, reflecting on her childhood in a different Manchester — one that lacked a space like South of the 6, to escape, imagine, and be inspired.
As explained on their website, the story behind the name has meaning as well.
Toronto locals (according to many elder millennials) call the city “The 6ix” – inspired by the six municipalities that comprise the Greater Toronto Area. Hip-hop artist Drake coined the term back in the early 2010s. Technically, NH lies Southeast (and more East than South), but for the most part we in the U.S. consider ourselves as being South of Canada. Hence, we are “South of the 6ix.”
The fusion of MacKenzie’s experiences in both Canada and the United States forms the backbone of South of the 6. It’s not just about being American or Canadian; it’s about bridging suburban and urban influences. “I’ve adopted some European philosophies and styles. And I think that part of my time in Canada has melded over into how I built this business,” Mackenzie said.
The inspiration for South of the 6 draws deeply from MacKenzie’s fond memories of manicures in Toronto. Recounting these experiences, she shared stories of a downtown nail bar, a social hub where media personalities frequented, offering an immersive experience beyond beauty services. One of the most important elements to MacKenzie was the establishment of a salon that was free of toxic materials in its products. As South of the 6 officially opened its doors in October, the grand opening was complete with a DJ and an invite list filled with people who had been part of her journey.
“I attended Blaine School for aesthetics in 2003 in Lowell, Massachusetts, right after high school. That’s where the beauty aspect for me began. I realized quickly after completing my hours and graduating that the beauty industry was only one piece of the puzzle. I then went to Dalhousie to attend University, in Novia Scotia, Canada. In the U.S. there is a culture of ‘whatever you can dream: be it, do it’ and in Canada there is a culture of ‘we can do really cool stuff when we think outside of the box! Just stay in your lane,’ So I suppose it’s the juxtaposition of those two philosophies that led me to create South of the 6,” MacKenzie said.
Sharing a space with other businesses like Humble Warrior Yoga, South of the 6 is proud to join the collective of businesses known as “the tree fort” within the building — most of which were founded by women in Manchester.
“I want to invite innovation, I want to inspire and empower other women and young people, I want to foster a sense of community. I want people to love the coffee and nail services and make it their go-to. But more importantly, I want to evoke a sense of ‘YES, this is the place’,” MacKenzie said.
Looking ahead, South of the 6 envisions becoming a central part of Manchester’s culture, inspiring community and urban vibrancy. MacKenzie has ambitious plans, including the introduction of nail parties in the spring and offering a shared space for events.
Parking for South of the 6:
Public parking is available in the upper 155 Dow St. lot (aka the Fratello’s lot) and on the side of the building. On weekends, lots and Commercial Street parking is available to the public.
From the upper lot: Enter through the main building entrance. Upon entering the lobby, walk down the winding staircase on your left and then through the door into the main hallway.
From the Humble Warrior (rear) entrance, enter the glass door then the metal door to your right. From the entryway room, go RIGHT down the hallway and turn left at the first corridor (where you will see signs for the bathroom and the cafe). Enter the paned glass door into the cafe.