ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Riddle: What belongs to one but requires two to operate?
Answer: Inspirations hair salon on D Street-a salon designed to cater to men and women of all ages.
The newest addition to the community’s hair-salon options is owned by Meisha Wares and run as a team-based business with cosmetologist Izzie Klassen.
“That’s one thing about Izzie and me-she knows everybody here and works with a lot of older clients,” Wares said.
“I enjoy working with college students, and I can color. So she’s sending the color to me. We compliment each other-work like a team.”
The pair celebrated with a Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony March 3. On March 4, they had an open house to welcome visitors and begin their first week seeing clients in the new salon.
Wares is married to Greg Wares, who works for Bartel Construction in Hillsboro. They have four children-Cori Crenshaw and twins Chase and Cameron Crenshaw are from a previous marriage and daughter Madison is the couples’ child.
Wares calls two towns home but hopes to eventually build up her clientele in Hillsboro and make it her permanent home.
“I live 50 percent of the time here in Hillsboro and 50 percent of the time in Larned, where I have a salon called Inspirations,” Wares said.
In 1984, she graduated from the school of cosmetology at Barton County Community College in Great Bend.
In 1988, Wares bought a salon in Larned but sold it in 1995, when she temporarily moved to Colorado.
While in Colorado, she worked in a salon called Inspirations.
“They charged $27 for a hair cut,” she said. “After two weeks, I couldn’t charge that much. I know I’m worth it, but it was too much money.”
Then she tried working at a mall salon.
“I’m a big people person, and they came in like numbers,” Wares said. “I cried. I thought, ‘I don’t know these people. I won’t get to watch their kids grow up.'”
When she came back to Larned, good luck was on her side. Just a year after her return, her old salon was for sale.
She bought the salon in 1997, named it Inspirations and moved the business to a better location in town.
“And I’ve been there ever since,” Wares said.
“It’s just me there for now. But in June, I have a girl coming in to work with me and keep the salon open the weeks I’m not there. Eventually, she’ll probably buy the salon from me so I can move here.”
Wares will be at Inspirations in Hillsboro the first and third weeks of each month, and the other two weeks she’ll take appointments at her Larned salon.
Klassen plans to be at the Hillsboro salon on a full-time basis.
After graduating from cosmetology school in Kansas City, Klassen worked full time in her profession for 17 years and part-time for 13 years.
“I’ve worked in places like Kansas City, Bonner Springs, Lincolnville, Marion, McPherson, Wichita and Hillsboro,” Klassen said.
Husband Jay Klassen works for Sprint, and the couple has two older sons from Jay’s previous marriage-Michael and Jeff.
For the past five years, Klassen worked at Preferred Medical Associates in Hillsboro.
“I was a licensed practical nurse and started there as their lab manager,” she said.
But her true calling has always been cosmetology. Even when she worked in the healthcare profession, she still maintained clients in her home or worked “semi-part-time” for other salon owners when needed.
She decided to resign in February from PMA and worked temporarily with clients in a nursing home until she committed to Wares.
“Staying active in hair like I have, I just had to get back in it,” Klassen said. “That’s where I’m most comfortable.”
Meanwhile, Wares heard from landlord Ray Funk that the building formerly occupied by Braden Computer was going to be available.
“Ray Funk is my landlord here, and we rent a house from him, also,” Wares said.
On a visit to talk to Funk at the local bowling alley, Wares ran into Klassen.
“Izzie overheard me talking about a salon and came up and introduced herself,” Wares said. “She said, ‘I always thought that would be a neat salon.'”
Wares offered Klassen a station at her salon and a week later, Klassen accepted the offer.
The month of February, Wares made changes to the little building located conveniently between Tabor College and the restaurant duo of McDonalds and Pizza Hut.
“We gutted this place and did everything,” Wares said. “We added a bathroom, painted, and my dad laid the carpet.”
The tidy salon has a black and white decor, two stations and a glass counter at the front displaying an array of hair products.
The services available for men and women at Inspirations includes hair cuts, styling, permanents, consulting and waxing.
Klassen said she offers experience in styling, cutting and permanents, and Wares said her strengths are styling, cutting and color.
“I’m very highly experienced in color and highlighting, like dimensional coloring and hair cutting,” Wares said. “We are both up to date with the new trends.”
The buzz word in the hair-salon industry today is hair “texturizing,” Klassen said.
“A lot of the old trends are back now-a lot of the kick-out looks that we called back combing and teasing in the 1960s. You can do that by razor cutting, scissor chunking and by thinning techniques. There’s all different techniques.”
The pair emphasizes that they are a versatile salon, offering styles for the older generation while still having the newest look available for the younger crowd.
“I want to reach the college kids,” Wares said.
“It’s good for them to know we do dimensional coloring, because a lot of them don’t realize small-town people know how to do that.”
With a number of salons in the area, Wares and Klassen said they hope to fill a need for the busy client who needs extended hours.
During the two weeks a month set aside for Wares, she plans to be available for appointments noon to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Klassen’s schedule is 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
The extended evening hours was an idea Klassen had while working with clients in Marion. She said it was a success with busy customers who worked during the day and needed to do other things on the weekend.
“With activities or a family meal, a lot of times, they’re not done until 7:30 p.m.,” Klassen said.
“But you offer this and they think, ‘Oh, I can get that done and not have to worry about it.'”
Wares and Klassen stressed they will be available on other days if needed, and they will also welcome walk-ins.
When it comes to prices at their salon, they plan to taylor the charges to the individual’s situation.
“Let’s say you come in and you want just a fraction off your hair and nothing else,” Klassen said.
“I’m done with you in five minutes. I’m not going to charge you a full $9 for that.”
Future plans include a tanning bed and possible incentives, such as specials discounts for Tabor students, who can enjoy the convenience of a salon close to the school.
Seniors over the age of 60 are also encouraged to try the salon, because they will be offered a 10-percent senior discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“And we would like to let people know if they have any questions or concerns, please come in and talk to us,” Klassen said.
“Don’t feel like you have to schedule an appointment, just stop by and say hello.”
But for those who want to call first, Wares and Klassen can be reached at the following numbers: 947-2221 to call the shop, 620-285-1995 to contact Wares by cell phone or 947-3232 to reach Klassen at home.