Lori Swink got her first taste of the world of cosmetology while she was in high school.
â€œI took a class under Sandy Taylor at East Lincoln and I was hooked,â€ she said.
After she graduated and worked in a couple of salons, Swink opened The Hair Masters on N.C. 150 in 1985.
Sheâ€™s celebrating her 20th anniversary in business next week. While the official day of her milestone falls on Sunday, when sheâ€™s not open, sheâ€™s planning a luncheon for Friday Oct. 7.
When she started in 1985, Swink had four stylists and no other competition around.
â€œThere are two salons located near mine now,â€ she said.
Swink now has five stylists who see a combined 200 clients per week.
Estelle Cochrane is one of Swinkâ€™s newest customers.
â€œIâ€™m very pleased with their work,â€ she said.
Two of the five stylists are former salon owners.
Susan Collins has been styling at The Hair Masters for 16 years.
â€œI moved here from Wilmington and I didnâ€™t want to open my own salon,â€ she said.
Patti Mendiola, whoâ€™s been with The Hair Masters 17 years, sold her salon at N.C. 16 and 150
â€œ(Loriâ€™s) got a good reputation,â€ she said.
In addition to keeping up with the latest trends and styles, Swink says the appeal of what she doesnâ€™t do the appeal that sets her apart from her competitors.
â€œWe donâ€™t take an appointment, ever,â€ she said.
According to Swink, one of the greatest perks of the salon business rests in her customers.
â€œThe kids we served in 1985 are now coming to us as adults, with families,â€ she said.
The Hair Masters is open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday.
by Jon Mayhew