BEAN BLOSSOM — A little off the road on the east side of State Road 135 North, Susie Woodall and daughter, Tabitha Hilligoss, run The Wild Hair and Sun salon.
Woodall has owned it for about 12 years but has worked there for about 25, having bought the shop from Agnes Unger.
With that much time in the community, Woodall thinks of her customers as more than just clients. “Around here, we’re family,” she said.
Woodall has watched clients grow up in her chair, from first haircuts to wedding days. She has a box where she keeps pictures of special occasion hairdos.
Story continues below gallery
It’s not just the daughters of clients she’s watched grow up, Woodall said. About half of their clients are men.
The relationships are what Woodall enjoys most about the work.
“What we do matters,” she said. “It makes people feel better, and sometimes they just get to talk.”
Does Woodall ever feel like a therapist, letting people talk through their problems? She hesitates to put it in those terms.
“Sometimes it’s just easy for people to just talk to somebody outside — just, outside,” she said.
Over time, she gets to know their children, their spouses, their family and friends through the stories her clients tell. She shares their joys and tragedies; she offers comfort.
“That’s what we do,” she said. “That’s just part of it.”
The Wild Hair and Sun is as full of history as it is friends.
Paula Collins has been coming to the salon for 15 years. She talked about the time a neighbor of the salon moved out and left chickens behind.
The ladies from the salon got together and rescued them. Collins still has three roosters.
Judy Games started coming to the salon about 20 years ago. She values Woodall and Hilligoss for their talent — whether trying something new or getting a consistent cut every time.
“And they’re good listeners,” she said.
She also enjoys having a place where she will see friends time after time, as well as the occasional “surprise visitor.”
Woodall is passionate about her community.
Bean Blossom is unincorporated with no geographic border that defines where it ends or begins.
“I don’t know that you could really draw a line, honestly,” she said.
Yet, the territory Bean Blossom occupies in Woodall’s thoughts is obvious with every name she lists.
“There’s so many good things in Bean Blossom and good people,” she said. “We know a lot of really good people. We do.”
Places with a heart like Bean Blossom are disappearing, she said. If a regular doesn’t show up to Brownie’s Restaurant — just north of her on State Road 135 — people check on them to see if they are OK.
“You don’t get that most places,” she said.
Taking care of family doesn’t stop at the shop’s door. Every Monday and Friday afternoon, Woodall travels to Nashville and takes care of her clients at Brown County Health and Living Community.Unger started working with clients at the assisted-living center, and Woodall has carried it on.
Some of of her clients may be only there for a short time; others have moved there permanently.
Getting their hair done helps maintain a sense of normalcy, Woodall said.
That means everything to her, said Carole Warford, a Brown County Health and Living resident who has been a client of The Wild Hair since it opened.
When clients are sick, Woodall has traveled to their homes, Games said. When they could no longer drive, she picked them up.
The loyalty and care that Woodall and Hilligoss show makes all the difference, Games said.
“There’s not a lot of that these days, so when you come across it, you hang onto it,” she said.
Where: State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
Contact: 812-988-4599, facebook.com/TheWildHairBCIndiana