By DAVID GREEN
Iola Borton remembers how it all started. She and Faye Graf each operated beauty salons in Morenci, but they decided to open a shop together in Fayette.
They would split their time between the two communities as they saw to the hair dressing needs of ladies throughout the area.
But what to name the new shop?
As Iola recalls, they had a contest and gave the winner a free perm.
That’s how the Glamourette Beauty Shop began about 45 years ago.
Iola remembers how it started; Karen Lavinder knows how it will end.
The old building on the west edge of Fayette’s business district will soon be torn down to create parking space at the Christian Church.
When the shop first opened, it was located on the north side of Fayette’s Main Street, where Lowell Beaverson now operates an insurance agency. Jane Redman of Morenci ran the salon; Iola and Faye spent a couple of days there each week.
Eventually that building became the Silver Hanger clothing store and the Glamourette moved across the street, just west of the village office.
Karen started her hair-cutting career in the original location. Eventually she bought the business from Jane Reppert, by now the owner of the Glamourette.
More than hair
Most people know the building at 201 W. Main St. only as a hair salon, but there was much more before that, and much of the history is lost.
Wanda Bacon is probably more familiar with its past than anyone since her father, William Hippert, was once the owner.
One photo, presumably from the 1800s, shows the building with a large millinery sign on the front.
After the original Fayette Christian Church burned, Wanda was told that members gathered in the building for services until the new church was completed in 1908.
Wanda’s father opened a gas station in the building—back when there were gas stations on nearly every corner—and a repair shop operated in the back. There’s still a large overhead door along Cherry Street.
“I remember the garage, but I can’t remember the gas pumps,” Wanda said, thinking back in history.
The curb is still cut out where cars once drove in for gas, her husband John pointed out.
The mechanic from the garage moved to Lyons to open his own repair shop and the Fayette business faltered.
Wanda’s father later created a small bowling alley, with balls that were smaller than regulation, but that didn’t prove to be much of a success.
Upstairs, Edna Smith operated a beauty shop and there was an apartment in the back. Wanda and John Bacon once lived there, entering the apartment via a stairway at the back of the building.
Gene Wilson was the building owner when the Silver Hanger came into being. He remodeled the street front portion for the new home of the Glamourette.
It’s been Karen Lavinder’s home away from home ever since.
End of era
Karen knows the closure of the shop is not good news for her customers.
“I’ve been cutting hair here for 40 years, she said. “There’s not a lot of happy people. People don’t like change.”
When her shop closes, the Razor’s Edge will become the only salon inside the village.
Karen said that about a third of her customers come from out of town. Some of them have moved away. Some still have relatives in Fayette. One customer who now lives in Monroe still makes appointments at the shop.
And the most extreme show of loyalty? When Fayette Tubular Products closed 10 years ago, a few employees transferred to Tennessee. When some of them head north to visit, they stop in at the Glamourette to get their hair done.
Karen knows she’ll miss the relationships she’s developed over the years.
“People think beauty shops are gossipy places, but they’re not really,” she said. “People just talk about their families.”
After following the trials and tribulations, the achievements and marriages through years and years, Karen has come to know many families quite well.
Sometimes she almost feels like a family member, as though she knows so many people that she’s never met. She’s certainly come to know her clients well.
“I’ve met a lot of very, very nice people,” Karen said.
When the Glamourette closes, she won’t be reopening in a new location. She has an interview this week for a part-time job completely unrelated to the beauty salon.
“I’m done with hair,” she said, and Fayette will be done with one of its long-time businesses.