A Family Affair
story by Pinar Istek
Linda Moss comes to Kelly's Mane Event each week for more than a shampoo and set.
"It's a good place to learn about the weekly news," she says. "If one of them doesn't know it, the other one definitely knows. If you are feeling depressed or having a bad day, they are always laughing and going on, and they lift your spirits."
Attorney Ike Norment and his wife have been clients at Kelly's Mane Event for almost 10 years. He started coming to the salon after his secretary recommended it.
Kelly Alvey, 48, a hair dresser for 30 years, bought the salon 18 years ago after running Princess Beauty Salon on Main Street for more than six years. Her new place was called the Cardinal Beauty Shop, but she renamed it.
"I knew that most of the patrons would remember my name," Kelly says. "Also, I liked the play on words of 'mane' as in hair. Like a lion's mane."
Kelly is proud of the business she has built — and grateful for the many friends her work has given her.
"The people I work with are like a family to me," she says. "In the working world today, you spend more awake time with your working family than with your home family. People really have to trust us, because how many people do you let touch your head and face? It becomes a personal bond. You build a clientele that stays with you. You build a strong relationship with them."
"I've been here for 14 years and I still love it," says Judy Brown, who went to beauty college with Kelly and now works in her shop."Just a group of good people. My boss, Kelly, is like my daughter to me."
Kate Smith, 92, comes to the salon every Friday morning to have her hair done. How long has she been a client? "Oh, years!" she says. "I don't know how many years, but a long time."
The ritual of women coming in for a weekly shampoo and style is disappearing as so many people now style their own hair at home. But for some of Alvey's older clients, getting their hair done is a way to get out of the house. "This is the only time they get to socialize," she says.
"I've buried a lot of customers," Kelly added. "We do go to the funeral home and fix their hair. I figured that's the last thing I could do for them."
As Kelly washed Dr. Michael Mayron's hair, she told a visitor that the neurologist diagnosed her vasculitis, an inflammatory disease that destroys blood vessels, in 2002.
"But she is the one that saves my self esteem every three weeks," the doctor replied. "Nobody is better than Kelly."
While undergoing treatment in 2003, Kelly went through a divorce. She got legal advice from Norment and emotional support from many other clients.
"After I got divorced, not having children, not being able to work, these people supported me mentally and physically," Kelly said. "This is one thing remained strong. My marriage failed. My health failed. But they didn’t. It is part of me.”