When Tana Newkirk bought Hair E-Clips salon at 1914 Main on Oct. 1, along with her daughter/business partner Shanda DeYoung, she found herself following in the footsteps of the previous owners. Pam Baize, Jan Moeder and Pat Straub all worked at Hair E-Clips for years before buying it together 25 years ago.
Newkirk worked for them for almost 24 years and now she has purchased the business, just as they did. It’s almost like passing a torch, she said, or maybe history repeating itself.
“It’s been wonderful having them for a boss/owners,” she said. Baize, Moeder and Straub are still working at the salon, but only until the end of the year, when they will retire.
Straub recalls how she and two friends decided to buy the business from their former employer a quarter of a century ago.
“We wanted to work another 10 years,” she said. “It just kept going, and it turned into 25.”
Three of the women – Newkirk, Baize and Straub – are graduates of Barton Community College’s former school of cosmetology, where many stylists received their training. (It was open from 1979-1996.) Moeder graduated from Sidney’s Hairdressing College in Hutchinson.
Moeder said they always worked well together, and they found other capable cosmetologists to fill the booths. “We were fortunate to have a good group of girls working with us.”
The salon still relies on an able staff. At present, there are nine cosmetologists and soon there will be three openings. “We are recruiting new stylists,” Newkirk said. It is an ideal opportunity for the right people because they will be able to start by serving the loyal clientele of the three departing women.
Newkirk said she couldn’t have taken over the business alone. Her daughter fills a vital role as her business manager. “I don’t know if I would have done this without her.”
All you need is love -- And great hair.Sign at Hair E-Clips
A close relationship
A sign in the Hair E-Clips salon confides, “All you need is love – And great hair.”
Cosmetologists share a hands-on (literally), personal relationship with their clientele, the women noted.
“I don’t tell my doctor stuff I would tell my hair stylist,” Newkirk said.
“They become your extended family,” Straub said. “We’ve seen them go through life with their children, marriages, deaths.” Their service can extend to doing the hair for the mother of a bride before a wedding, or styling a client’s hair one last time before she is laid to rest. “That is the last wonderful thing you can do form them after they pass.”
Straub’s longest-standing client has been coming to her since 1969.
Moeder can top that, however. “I have a lady that’s going to be 93,” she said. Moeder has been styling her hair since 1962 or ’63.
Another steady customer, Elaine Simmons, spoke about her relationship with her cosmetologist. She’s been a customer at Hair E-Clips for nearly 40 years. Pat Straub is her stylist.
“If you pick correctly, you form a partnership grounded in trust and respect. Your stylist learns your quirks, pays attention to your interests, listens to your life stories, offers advice, and makes you look the best version of yourself,” Simmons said.
“Pat and I are a team and it will be hard to transition away from her; however, that new adventure will begin in January as her colleague, Terri Horner, has agreed to adopt me. Hair E-Clips will transform with the change in leadership; however, I believe the new owner will ensure the same great service, comfortable environment, and opportunity for the desired ‘me time’ that all of its new and current customers are seeking!”
Your stylist learns your quirks, pays attention to your interests, listens to your life stories, offers advice, and makes you look the best version of yourself.Elaine Simmons, longtime client of stylist Pat Straub
The salon is always busy but especially during the holiday season.
“You want to look good for the holidays, so we’re busy,” Straub noted.
Baize, Moeder and Straub are also busier than ever right now as they try to fit their clients in one last time.
With their final day at the salon still a month away, the former owners aren’t ready to announce any specific plans for retirement. However, Baize knows one thing she plans on doing. “I will be coming in to get my hair done.”
Straub agreed, when she visits the salon, she’ll be sitting in the chair, not standing behind it.
But that is not the final chapter, DeYoung noted. After all, she and Newkirk will carry the tradition forward and hope to expand the services. They might even consider recruiting a lash technician.
Business Insight is a regular feature of the Great Bend Tribune, showcasing locally owned businesses and encouraging folks to shop local as we near the Christmas holidays. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Griswold Mobile is back
Mike and Tana Newkirk are the proud owners of Great Bend’s own “Griswold Mobile,” a prank car inspired by the Griswold Family station wagon in the movie “Christmas Vacation.” Once again this year, the Griswold Mobile will be out and about throughout December. Naturally, the first stop will be at Tana’s business, Hair E-Clips, on Dec. 1. For a $50 donation, the car can be sent to any location in town to have someone “Griswolded.” Every penny goes to the First United Methodist Church, which then donates it to the Community Food Bank of Barton County. Call Tana at 620-793-2468 to get on the list but take note: Most of December is already booked.