The spirit of the original owner is still alive and well at Shear Options, a beauty salon on Academy Street in Lincolnton.
The character of the turn-of-the-century house has been preserved with its hardwood floors, old fireplaces and green and yellow color scheme.
Chatty hairdressers stay busy, and their equally chatty clients remain loyal, even if their favorite stylist is no longer available.
â€œThere have definitely been sad times since she left, and times you miss her and remember her,â€ said Callie Carpenter, a hairdresser.
Sherry Gunter first opened Shear Options in 2000. She was a popular hairdresser with over 50 clients coming in from outside of Lincoln County. She treated every one of them like a queen.
â€œShe always made you feel like you were the most important person here,â€ said Carole Pendleton, a long-time customer.
Throughout her career, Sherrie worked at various salons, but she always wanted to become an owner.
â€œThis was her dream,â€ said Marshall Gunter, her widowed husband.
Unfortunately, Sherrieâ€™s dream was cut short in January of 2004 when she died of complications from cancer treatment. Her death was sudden and unexpected, but loved ones felt she was ready.
â€œShe was at peace with everything that went on with her,â€ said Marshall.
Following her death, he chose to keep ownership of the salon.
â€œI just wasnâ€™t in a position physically, mentally to make any decisions, even though I knew long term I had to do something,â€ he said.
Few changes have been made to Shear Options since Sherrieâ€™s death, but this past April, Marshall made the transition from salon owner to landlord.
The salon stays the same, but now each hairdresser is self-employed.
The change didnâ€™t send shock waves through the salon, though â€˜the girlsâ€™ still miss their former employer.
â€œYou couldnâ€™t ask for anyone better to work for,â€ said Carpenter. â€œShe was more than a boss, she was a friend.â€
Marshall, although still grieving, has no plans to sell the salon anytime soon. Instead, a new paint job and adding additional massage therapy are on his itinerary.
He knows, however, that one key element will remain missing.
â€œ(Sherrie) just had one of those glowing personalities,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s amazing the people who flocked to her just because of that personality.â€
A picture of Marshall and Sherrie still hangs over one of the salonâ€™s fireplaces. It was taken at the start of December 2003. The couple is standing in the snow in the mountains, smiling and surrounded by Christmas trees.
By the end of January, Sherrie had died.
â€œEverything that happened, happened so quick,â€ said Marshall.
Although she was diagnosed with lymphoma, doctors believed Sherrie could live a long life.
â€œI took too much for granted that whole year,â€ said Marshall.
Even when she received treatments she didnâ€™t lose her hair. A week before she went into the hospital she was still working.
â€œShe was very strong-willed,â€ said Angie Rose, a hairdresser who worked with Sherrie for 13 years.
At last yearâ€™s Relay for Life following her death, the First Baptist Church in Lincolntonâ€™s team marched in her honor.
Marshall plans to attend this year, and hopes research will improve cancer treatments.
â€œThe cancer was cured,â€ he said of his wife, â€œBut it was the complications that set in afterwards that took her life.â€
by Sarah Grano