Hair care has been big business for both women and men since the days of flat-tops and bouffants.

“Since I was a young girl, I had always wanted my own hairstyling salon,” Eudora Hambrick said.

Hambrick is celebrating her salon’s 22-year anniversary this month — Eudora’s Hairstyling Salon inside the Holiday Inn in Oak Hill.

“It’s funny to think that 22 years has gone by since I started,” she said. “It seems like only yesterday.”

Hambrick started the business with two other stylists. She has since expanded her business with tremendous results.

“It didn’t necessarily require a huge investment of capital,” she explained. “What it did take was a serious time investment and a lot of hard work.”

Hambrick said it all started after she graduated from beauty school.

“My first job was with Harvey’s in Beckley,” she said. “Tom Harvey was a great teacher and really taught me how to run a business.”

Hambrick said she stopped working and dedicated herself to her family.

“I have a love of hair, people and art,” she said. “I started thinking about being self-employed and starting my own salon.”

Then one day while walking her daughter to the school bus stop, one of the owners of the Holiday Inn asked if she would be interested in putting a styling salon inside the new hotel in Oak Hill.

“It was as if my prayers were answered,” she said. “I was so excited.”

Hambrick said from the first day she opened business has been good.

“I had 42 customers the first day,” she said. “It’s been busy ever since.”

Hambrick said she just turned her God-given talent for creating fabulous hairstyles — enhanced by training and research — into a successful career.

“I have been blessed with this salon,” she said. “I have been fortunate to also have a very supportive family.”

Hambrick said her husband, Pat, has made her dream possible.

“Pat has been a wonderful husband,” she explained. “I couldn’t have made it without him. In the beginning I worked 10 hours or more a day, six days a week. When you have two children, that can be difficult, but he made it easy for me. I can’t thank him enough.”

Hambrick said Mary Treadway of Fayetteville has been working with her for 16 years and Sherrie Sisk of Oak Hill has been there since the beginning.

“I have had a great staff over the years and appreciate the contributions from every single one of them,” she said.

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When Hambrick started the business, her daughter was 5 and her son was just a year old.

“Stephanie is now 27 and P.J. is 23,” she said. “It is amazing how time flies. I am expecting my first grandchild in May.”

Eudora’s was named the top hairstyling salon in Fayette County this year by readers of The Register-Herald.

“We also took the top honor for tanning salons in Fayette County as well,” she said. “I guess I have a lot of loyal customers.”

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Hambrick said she has seen many hairstyles come and go over the past 22 years.

“Teenage boys had long hair in the 1970s and then it went away, but today it is making a comeback,” she said. “But hair coloring and perms have never gone out of fashion.”

Hambrick said she uses scissors, clippers and chemicals to accomplish changes in hairstyles and color.

“Many people get hair coloring products from over-the-counter and then end up in my salon to fix it,” she said. “I fix at least three bad hair color jobs a week.”

Hambrick said over-the-counter products can’t get pale blond from dark hair.

“They don’t tell you that on the box, but I’ve never hardly seen anyone match the color on the box,” she said.

Eudora’s Hairstyling Salon also offers Wolfe tanning beds and features Paul Mitchell and Redken hair products.

“I attend many hair shows and keep up with the latest products and trends,” she said. “I want my customers to have the best.”

Hambrick said over the years she has styled many people’s hair only to later see their children come in when they got older.

“I have teased some of my customers and said when they start bringing in their grandchildren then I’ll probably retire,” she said.

Hambrick has also done her share of community service.

“I have gone to customers’ homes or the hospital to style hair when they were sick,” she said. “If you are not feeling well, getting your hair done can make you feel better.”

She also takes time to get to know her customers hair and scalp.

“You can find out about many health issues if you pay attention to the hair and scalp,” she said. “I have feelings for my customers. I respect and acknowledge their feelings and I get respect in return.”

Hambrick’s success has inspired generations of men and women to follow in her footsteps. For decades, cosmetology and beauty salons have ranked among the top business ventures for both men and women. Even in some of the state’s most rural areas, hair salons are among the communities’ most viable businesses.

“This kind of business is very rewarding,” she said. “Making others feel good about themselves and look better is a great feeling.”

What is her advice for others thinking about a career as a hairstylist?

“Find a good beauty school,” she said. “Keep attending classes and keep learning.”

Eudora’s Hairstyling Salon is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is closed Saturday and Sunday. For more information about the salon, call Hambrick at 465-5009.

— E-mail: fpace@register-herald.com

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