HALSTEAD — Brenda Farmer has been a part of Halstead's Main Street for nearly three decades. The stylist and owner of Shear Image Hairstyling is retiring and will close her business on Dec. 1.
Unlike her husband, Sam, Brenda grew up in south Wichita. She said she had not heard of Halstead until meeting her future spouse, but after they married, the couple moved there to be able to raise their children in a smaller school district.
When her youngest child went into first grade, Farmer went to beauty school.
"I had an interest and I was already doing home perms for family," Brenda said.
Farmer wanted to know more about cutting and styling hair, hoping to build her hobby into a career.
Starting out as a stylist, Brenda eventually bought the salon on Main Street and renamed it Shear Image Hairstyling.
"My daughters helped me pick that out," Brenda said. "I wanted a name that could go on if I ever left the shop."
Farmer wanted to set her own hours to be able to participate in her children's activities. Some community events — like Halstead's Halloween Howl — let her open her shop to her children, grandchildren and friends year after year.
After 28 years as a beautician, she knows Halstead's residents well.
"You get to listen to a lot of stories," Brenda said. "It's fun listening to Halstead stories."
From recipes that were used to feed family gatherings to the hobbies and interest of the families themselves, Brenda said she learned a lot from her customers.
"I appreciate every customer who has come to me," Brenda said.
She has seen young people grow up to have children of their own.
"The social side of this business is what I'm going to miss," Brenda said. "I like doing hair, but I'm getting tired. I tell everybody the part I'm going to miss is them — talking to them."
Shear Image Hairstyling provided services for men, women and children. Some customers even drove up from Wichita to have Brenda cut their hair.
Though she enjoys her work, Brenda is ready to give up 12-hour work days and start a new routine.
"In the last two or three years, I've cut back on things because I knew I needed to retire. Now, I know I'm going to," Brenda said.
Brenda is looking to sell or lease her salon, hoping to keep it as a beauty shop to serve her customers in Halstead.
"The ideal thing would be to get someone in here who walks in on Dec. 4 and takes over," Brenda said.
She emphasized the business would not have succeeded without the support of her Halstead clientele.
"It's been fun; it's been a good profession," Brenda said.
What made hairstyling fun was the support of her customers, for whom she is very thankful.
"I've enjoyed every minute of time I've been able to spend with my customers," Brenda said. "They have brought me a lot of joy over the years."