- from: Richard.Howe
- uploaded: Feb 23, 2014
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Shampers hair salon, Pilton, celebrates 25 years, as reported and pictured in the North Devon Journal. Left to right the photograph shows Vanessa Rodriguez, Gail Willcox, Jane Gross, Carla Hewitson, Nairn Morgan, and seated, Shirley Bates. The story recounted that the business "was set up by Gail Willcox and Shirley Bates in 1989 after Shirley decided to take over from the then owner of the hairdressers. A neighbour put her in touch with Gail and the rest is history.
The pair said their 25-year journey had gone without a hitch, and that they had survived with next to no advertising. "I brought a lot of customers with me and we carried on from there,” said Gail. “We have done very well.” The pair said customers come from far and wide to use their services, with one customer travelling from Wellington. Margaret Riddoch has been coming to the salon for 20 years and said the staff really cared about their customers. “I have been coming here for so long because I live in Pilton and also because they have got such good staff,” she said. Shirley partly credited the salon’s success to the fact it was so friendly. There was one incident where an elderly lady did not turn up for her appointment and as staff were worried about her they went to her property and discovered she’d had suffered a stroke.
Gail said it was a credit to the shop’s popularity that it had survived in Pilton Street for so long while others had closed down. “We have parking for an hour outside for free which helps,” she added. “Most of our customers have been coming to us for 20 years. A lot of them like it because it is sociable.” When Shampers was starting up, Shirley said she was warned there were “not many partnerships made in heaven,” but added she and Gail had not fallen out in 25 years. Both Gail and Shirley’s husbands help out at the salon, doing the books and maintaining the listed building. In terms of the future, the pair have no plans to retire and will carry on Shampers as it is.
Thanks to Mike Southon and the North Devon Journal for permission to reproduce this photograph and item.