For more than five decades, David City resident Sherri Styskal has spent her weeks chatting with clients while she cuts and styles their hair.
But on Sept. 28, the longtime beautician and owner of the downtown Sherri Beauty Salon will maneuver a pair of scissors for what she believes is the last time as she steps away into retirement. The decision has been a conflicting one, she said, but she believes it might be the right time.
“I’ve lost a lot of people through death and nursing homes and other things,” said Styskal, whose business is at 475 Fourth Street. “And at my age, of course, there aren’t a whole lot of people who want to start with you because they know that you probably are just going to retire.
“But I still do have a few faithful ones.”
In addition to her waning clientele, she noted that there’s also the fact that her shop license needs renewing by Sept. 30. At this stage in the game, it just wasn’t something she really was up for.
Still, reflecting on her career, there are a lot of good times and good memories she can hang her hat upon. Styskal moved to David City when she was a sophomore in high school as a result of her father, a member of the U.S. Air Force, relocating as part of his service. Her grandparents also had David City roots, she noted.
Cutting hair was something that came naturally to Styskal and really started off as more of a hobby than anything else.
“I pretty much knew in high school,” she said of having an understanding of what she wanted her career to one day be. “I kind of just messed around to see what I could do.”
After graduating from David City High School, Styskal made the trek down to San Antonio where her parents moved prior to her senior year when her dad returned from being stationed in Germany. There, she completed the majority of her cosmetology school before returning to Nebraska to finalize the process.
The return to Nebraska was largely in part made because of whom she married. Don Styskal was a David City native and the pair married in San Antonio in 1961 before moving back to their home state. After working in three other beauty salons, Styskal opened her first David City business in June 1968.
“There was a theater on Fourth Street at that time, and there was a little building right next to it and that’s where mom worked,” her son, Scott Styskal said. “She paid like $75 in rent and it belonged to the people who owned the theater. It was separate, but it was like the theater was here, and then there was this little garage or office building."
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Styskal operated out of that location - which has long since been razed – until moving to her current downtown digs in 1996. Although her shop moved locations, her clientele remained loyal and she continued fostering relationships while providing the women she served with good-looking hairdos.
“I always felt like they were part of our family,” Styskal said of her clients.
Scott Styskal recalled how generous her patrons always were around the holiday season.
“At Christmas times she used to get like a million gifts,” Scott said, with a laugh. “And that was always something that was fun for us kids, helping her open all those presents she got from work.”
While she continued enjoying her work, the idea of retirement started creeping into her mind about two years ago when Don’s health started deteriorating and ultimately led to his passing. However, Scott pushed his mom to keep focused and keep working.
He said because he knew she still enjoyed it, she should still keep at it.
But now the time has come for Styskal to hang up her scissors and pursue other endeavors. She said she will stay busy in the yard raking, reading and planting flowers. She’s certainly not someone who will live a sedentary lifestyle upon retirement.
She knows her remaining clients will have to find another salon to visit, which stings a little, but she said she is very appreciative of all the time spent with them and the memories made.
“It’s been great being with all my customers and good friends,” she said. “... You get very close to people, it was my home away from home.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at email@example.com.