Connie Hosford is hanging up her shears after 45 years of being a hairstylist at Silhouette Hair Fashions, 227 W. Broadway, but she will not go far.

As she grew up in El Dorado, she knew she would become a hairstylist.

"I never wanted to be anything else," Connie Hosford said.

She made several moves with her husband, John, when he was in the Air Force.

"I tried to go to (beauty) school. I would start thinking about it every place we were stationed, but we were never stationed anywhere long enough for me to get through school," Connie Hosford said.

She finally got the chance to attend beauty school in Macon, Georgia, in 1973.

"'Bouffant' was the word of the day when I was going to school," Connie Hosford laughed. "The bigger, the better."

Connie Hosford's instructor wanted her to stay on with the school and teach herself, but the family decided to move back to Kansas and settle closer to where they had grown up. She immediately found work at Silhouette Hair Fashions.

"The shop was out at the old Westwind building," Connie Hosford said. "...You just about had to sit in the bathroom and mix color, it was so tiny."

She bought the shop in 1974 and moved it to the space formerly occupied by The Albatross in Cedar Village in 1976.

"We had plenty of room down there, oodles of room, but to get to the dryer area, you had to go upstairs," Connie Hosford said.

In the early 1980s, John Hosford bought an old service station on the southeast corner of Broadway and Plum streets.

"It was the worst-looking thing I had ever seen in my life," Connie Hosford said.

After removing the peeling paint and old gas pumps, John Hosford set up his Shelter Insurance branch in one side of the building. In 1990, renovations to the other side were completed. allowing Connie Hosford to move Silhouette Hair Fashions next door and work as a licensed insurance agent for Shelter Insurance.

"If you're going to work two businesses your entire life, it's a lot easier if they're side by side," Connie Hosford said.

She has heard many stories from her customers, from the latest health problems to family milestones.

"You really get swept up into it, almost like it's happening to you," Connie Hosford said. "I've had so many wonderful customers. They just become family."

Over the years, she has seen the people and places in Newton grow and change.

"Newton's been very good to us," Connie Hosford said. "I wouldn't do anything over."

Silhouette Hair Fashions will still be owned by Connie Hosford, but she will hire a new person to take over her chair while she focuses on her work with Shelter Insurance.

"I'll still be right next door," Connie Hosford said.

She is able to retire from hairstyling due to the trust she has in her capable employees.

"I've got wonderful employees," Connie Hosford said. "...when I'm gone, this place just keeps right on going, just as if I was standing here."

She realizes that having the right people in place makes a difference in a business.

"If you take care of the employees, they will take care of your customers," Connie Hosford said. "I always try to make sure the employees are happy and do what I can for them."