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A whole lot of style

WC salon owner to retire after 47 years in business

December 31, 2010
By ANNE BLANKENSHIP Daily Freeman-Journal Managing Editor

Beehives, flips and teased hair were the styles of day when Marilyn and Don Henry opened The Stylists on Seneca Street in November 1963.

They've seen hairstyles come and go over the past 47 years, but one thing that has remained constant has been their commitment to their customers. Today, the business will close its doors for the last time.

Marilyn Henry's husband retired three years ago, but she wasn't ready at the time.

Article Photos

Stylist Jeanette Tempel and customer Karen McGrane visit with Marilyn Henry, owner of The Stylists salon. Henry is retiring and closing her shop after 47 years in business.

"I continued on," she said. "I'm not sure I'm sure I'm ready now, but it's time."

As she wrapped up her the process of closing up this week, Henry said she'll miss her customers.

"They are your friends after this long of a time. I've watched a couple of generations grow up," she said. "You develop a very close relationship with your customers."

A native of northwest Iowa, Henry first became acquainted with the beauty business in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Sioux City. She attended school there and worked as an instructor for the school. Her husband followed her through beauty school a few years later.

The couple relocated to Webster City and opened their shop.

"Webster City was really a great place to come to," she said. "It was a wonderful town for shopping."

Seneca Street was filled with businesses, including a laundry, a cafe and Forrester's Dairy. Henry said she enjoyed the convenience of being able to run across the street for an ice cream cone.

"It's fun to look back to those early days. Big hair was really the thing. Long hair was in and we'd stack it up and paralyzed that hair," she said.

The business had 10 chairs then and the stylists often worked late on Friday and Saturdays getting customers ready for the weekend. Henry said many stylists came to work in the shop over years.

"We've had many young stylists come in and later go on to open their salons," she said.

The Stylists has truly been a family business through the years, as the Henry's three children - Scott, David and Melissa - helped around the shop when they were growing up.

"They cleaned for us, sterilized, brushed and vacuumed the shop. All three of them took their turns here and usually had a friend along, too," she said.

The Stylists was the first shop in town to offering tanning beds. While other salons and businesses have added tanning facilities since then, Henry said her shop continued to offer the service through the years for customers who wanted to relax and tan.

The beauty industry has changed considerably through the years as hairstyles have come and gone. Henry said nowadays, cosmetology students are even able to specialize in various aspects of the business - like nails, pedicures and facials.

Henry said her salon has continued to have its weekly customers - those looking for wash, sets and comb-outs - a service not all new stylists offer.

"A lot of places don't have the big dryers we had. They use blow dryers and do mostly cuts and colors," she said.

As the last shop days approached, Henry began to look for places that might be interested in her shop equipment and fixtures. She didn't want to sell the items, rather, she wanted to share them with other stylists who could use the equipment in their businesses.

"I didn't want it all to end up in the landfill. I'm sure some of it will, but I'm glad there are people who will get some use out of the stuff," she said.

Henry said she was looking forward to getting involved in the garden club and wants to work on her yard next summer. She also said she wants to go through her house and get things organized and maybe do some remodeling.

"Everyone seems to have that goal when they retire, but I hope I can get that done," she said.

Henry also hopes to spend time with her six grandchildren and attend their school and athletic events.

"That will keep me very busy," she said.

Contact Anne Blankenship at or call 832-4350.



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