Melissa Shol is following in some pretty big footsteps having taken over barbering responsibilities in the location formerly known as Doug's Barber Service, owned and operated by Doug Debing.
Debing retired in April of this year after an illustrious 48-year career run, but the goods new is he will still be back in the shop on occasion to fill in for Shol as the need arises.
A licensed master barber, Shol is picking up where Doug left off now operating the business as Lucky D's Barber Shop, named after her two sons, Hayden, 10, whose middle name is Lucky, and Davis, 6, who has earned the nickname "D."
Shol is no newcomer to the location having been hired by Debing in May of 2009 to assist with haircutting duties and help ease him into an eventual retirement position.
Originally from South Fargo, Schol graduated from Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls. She married, had her children and was a stay-at-home mom who later worked with the handicapped and mentally disabled adults at the State Hospital in Fergus Falls.
The idea to enter the barbering profession was born after a visit to a local shop with her husband. "I fell in love with the atmosphere of the barber shop," Shol recalled. "It was great conversation and a great atmosphere. All very laid back and that's totally me. It was also very quick. He was all done in 20 minutes and looked like a million bucks. That's when I fell in love with the idea."
Consequently, she enrolled in Moler Barber College in Fargo, driving back and forth every day and graduating in Nov. of 2006. She barbered in Fergus Falls for about three years, went through a divorce, and relocated to Fargo, before joining Debing in his West Fargo location.
Describing her business as a Full Service Barber Shop catering mainly to men and boys, Shol specializes in cuts, straight razor and neck shaves, along with scalp massage.
She admits that her barbering profession has been good to her adding she's extremely grateful for the opportunity afforded to her by Debing. "I honestly can't thank him enough. He hired me more or less over the phone. I came in and he trusted me 100 percent. He let me do my own thing. He is a great person to work with and a very talented man with great stories."
As for being in charge of her own business, Shol said "It is absolutely what I thought it was going to be. You meet so many different people of so many different backgrounds. It is a wonderful thing. I just love the people. Some days you are a person's best friend, or their psychiatrist, and some customers absolutely don't want to talk, they just want to relax. You get the feel for it and know what to expect to make the experience a pleasant one for each customer."
Shol said a main goal, once she's totally established, will be to become more active and recognizable in the community.
She is already laying the groundwork in that regard. Thanks to hair cutting customers from the Cass County Sheriff Department crew, she heard about the Sheriff's Reserve, applied and was accepted. And once she completes her Thursday evening class schedule she will also be a certified sworn in sheriff's deputy, having already helped out with a DUI checkpoint and looking forward to other volunteer duties.
Right now she's reveling in each moment her newfound business responsibilities present. She said word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers is providing her biggest client building boost.
She also wants to keep her pricing steady at a rate everybody can afford. Hairs are $15 across the board, except for clients 65 years of age and older and those under 12 years of age, who are charged $14.
She welcomes walk-ins but encourages appointments to make it more convenient to allow the proper time each customer deserves. Inquiries can be made or appointments arranged by calling 701-282-0884.
On a final note, Shol said she also wants to try and ensure that the good old-fashioned barbering profession is maintained and nourished.
"My biggest concern these days is with the hype about the barber pole. Barbering is a dying trait. I want to keep it going and bring it back to life like it used to be. Hopefully my haircuts and my personality will keep all my customers coming back so I can flourish and accomplish just that."