End of an era for the beauty salon | Republic-Times

Teresa Fruth does one of her latest haircuts at Pins and Curls in downtown Waterloo to longtime client Gladys Wittenauer-Thiele.

On April 1, the building at 208 S. Main Street in Waterloo will no longer house a beauty salon that has served customers for over 70 years.

Pins and Curls owner Teresa Fruth had worked in the building for nearly 50 years, first working under Vivian McDonald when she was hosting her hair salon.

Fruth bought the company 43 years ago from McDonald’s and branded it Pins and Curls.

“This was a beautiful way to live life,” Fruth reflected on her career as a beautician. “It didn’t seem to work, it was fun. You’re doing people’s hair, you’re visiting: it was a good way to live life. ”

Through the stories of her clients, Fruth was able to reconstruct the history of the building that preceded it. Gladys Wittenauer-Thiele, one of Fruth’s customers, visited the shop in August 1949 to have her hair done for her first wedding, providing evidence that the building’s period as a beauty shop has spanned over 70 years.

Newspaper archives showed that the South Main building was WE Eilbracht’s drugstore in the early 1900s. Fruth said her customers would tell her that the door itself leading to the store was the site of many weddings, as Eilbracht was a justice of the peace.

Decades later, Fruth’s story began, and it began before she set foot in the store.

“Why I became a beautician is still a mystery to me,” she said. “My mother had health problems and I did her hair at home, and I guess she is from there because I still don’t know why I became a beautician. It just happened and here I am 50 years later. It was meant to be.”

Therefore, some might describe Fruth’s finding McDonald’s – and later buying the business – as natural.

However, she was not completely alone as the new owner. As old holiday ads in local newspapers show, Rose Mary Purl and Nancy Schneider Nobbe, two other stylists who helped run the salon, were also essential parts of Pins and Curls.

Over the years, Purl and Schneider Nobbe have left Pins and Curls. For a while, Fruth was the only stylist in the salon and she was eventually joined by Barb Goldschmidt, who made a name for herself as a beautician serving nursing homes.

“It’s interesting how life cares for you, how God cares for you,” Fruth said.

Then, after COVID, Alice Rodgers, another local designer, came on the scene. For COVID, only one stylist would be in store at a time.

In 43 years as Pins and Curls, Fruth said he built something special. It’s not unusual for Fruth’s clients to have been coming to her for decades.

“I have an older clientele and they come to get their hair done. It’s important to them, “Fruth said.” With many of my clients, I would see them as much as their family because of life and how it is: people are busy. They used to come in to get their hair done every week … so it’s it’s been a nice relationship that has developed over the years. ”

Wittenauer-Thiele echoed this sentiment.

“Everyone is so friendly here. We are like a small family here, “said Wittenauer-Thiele.

It’s not just Fruth that clients have built a strong relationship with, but also Fruth’s older brother, Tom. When Fruth became Tom’s caretaker, he became a staple in the salon, greeting everyone who entered with a big smile.

Some regulars even grab a cup of coffee at Tom across the street before entering.

These ties are why Fruth has continued to run Pins and Curls all these years, he said.

“I’ve been trying to stay to take care of the people who have been loyal to me all these years,” Fruth said, referring to her clients.

Fruth also operated out of the shop. As his business aged, his clientele and many of him also moved into nursing homes. Fruth would make special visits to serve these customers.

When asked, Fruth even saw customers in the funeral home for their latest hairstyles.

“It was a special time to remember and bid them my last goodbye,” said Fruth.

Now it’s time for another goodbye at the close of Pins and Curls. When the building owner received a business opportunity, Fruth said they “couldn’t let it go.”

Fruth knew it was time to collect his shears.

“I didn’t choose him, he chose me,” he said.

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