Time To Say Goodbye….The Charm Salon closes their doors for the last time

Tears were flowing hours before they shut the lights out and locked the doors one last time. The Charm Salon closed last Thursday as owners Arlinda Seamands and Holly Wyman are moving on to take care of themselves and their families.

Charm Store Front (RGB)

By COLE BENZ | Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

Tears were flowing hours before they shut the lights out and locked the doors one last time. The Charm Salon closed last Thursday as owners Arlinda Seamands and Holly Wyman are moving on to take care of themselves and their families.

The building where the Charm Salon resided was built in 1908 and housed many businesses before the salon including Home Baker and Confectionary, a pharmacy, and Hedahl’s. Leo’s Barber Shop occupied a portion of the building until the early 80s.

The Charm Salon originally opened in November of 1964 under the ownership of Eleanor Walsh and Roberta Engraff. Wyman started at the Charm in 1971 right out of beauty school and Seamands had been working there for the past 43 years. They started out as employees and began the process of buying the business in 1981, something neither of them had ever intended on doing.

“We made a comment more than once, ‘we’re never going to buy this place, and we’re not going to work more than 20 years,’” Seamands said.

So what happened?

“We bought it,” Seamands said with a laugh.

(Left to Right) Tina Hill, Arlinda Seamands, Holly Wyman.
(Left to Right) Tina Hill, Arlinda Seamands, Holly Wyman.

The duo first bought one owner out, then later purchased the rest of the business from the second owner.

Both Seamands and Wyman attended Jack’s Beauty School in Bismarck during the same session, and though they had not known each other before, had actually grown up 10 miles a part.

Throughout the course of operation Seamands and Wyman have offered many different services to their clients including hair cuts, colors and styling. Manicures, pedicures and permanents, nail services and scalp massages were also available. At one point the Charm Salon also offered wig sales.

The services have changed throughout the years and they said that they tailored to their customers, saying that in a small community you really just adapt to what your audience wants, and that’s what they did for the past three decades.

Wyman said that one of the biggest changes she has seen is the hair styles, but noted that most of them are coming back in style.

“Hairstyles have gone from one thing and back to the same thing,” Wyman said.

Seamands couldn’t believe the increase in price customers are willing to pay for their beauty services.

Greg Steiner of Scranton has purchased the business and will take ownership on October 1 of this year.

The business has been for sale for the past few years. They put it on the market quite some time ago because they knew it would take some time to find a buyer in a smaller market, but they had hoped the sale would have led to a few more years behind the chair.

In the perfect scenario they would have sold it to a beautician and continue as an employee for a few years afterwards, but that just didn’t happen.

“Kind of like fate just takes over,” Wyman said.

Also moving on is fellow stylist Tina Hill, who was emotional when asked what The Charm Salon had meant to her. She had been with the salon for five years, and Seamands said she came in one day asking for employment, stating that she only did nails and nothing else. They hired her anyway, and Hill quickly warmed up to the duo and they worked together until the last day. Hill accepted another position at the Hettinger School, and was getting out of the hair business for her own health reasons.

Last Thursday, they were busy calling their customers with booked appointments, alerting them of the change. The closure was somewhat unexpected; with Wyman being retired for better part of last year, Seamands focusing on her health and Hill moving on to another employer, there just wasn’t anyone to run the salon.

Wyman said the reactions have mostly been sad, customers they’ve known for years were sorry to see it closing and some didn’t know where they will bring their business next—one of Wyman’s customers has been coming to The Charm Salon since 1974.

Relationships have been formed and strengthened throughout the years at the salon, for both customers and stylists, and Seamands said that’s reflected in the trust clients give them.

“We’re more than just hair dressers,” Seamands said. “When you’ve been friends with somebody that long and you’ve done their hair that long they confide, and they release.”

As they close the doors both Seamands and Wyman are very appreciative of their clientele and the years they gave them their business. They wanted the community to know how much they meant to them.

“We just want the people in Hettinger and the surrounding area to know that we’re very grateful,” Wyman said. “It’s a bittersweet thing that we’re going through right now, but we just want to thank them.”