Another day, another ’do

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2018

Woman turns small bldg. into 1-room salon

Even before she purchased what would become The Best Little Hair House, a local hair stylist was making waves — and curls, colors, cuts and shaves.

Since December, Courtney Drescher has operated out of the former service station at the corner of Fountain and Vine streets. She uses the area as a studio-style salon in which she does haircuts, chemical treatments like coloring or perming, manicures, facial waxing, formal styling and airbrush makeup. But for Drescher, it’s more than a fresh look: It’s a chance to make her customers have some “me” time and to feel pampered.

“I feel like I can really give that to my clients,” she said.

Like many things, The Best Little Hair House started as a daydream.

“I swear almost everyone in Albert Lea had a little idea of what would be cute in this house,” Drescher said.

Drescher would walk by it on her summer walking route and picture it as a salon.

“I thought of it as a little hair place because that’s what I do for a living,” she said.

She found out who the property owner was through her next-door neighbor, and it ended up being the same real estate agent who helped Drescher close on her house.

Jefferson Oil Co. opened a gas station at 726 Fountain St. in 1928, and that property continued as a service station until 1994. In the early 2000s, the property served as the office for Family Treasures, which organized and held sales.

But in October 2017, it took on yet another life when she purchased the building and the cement floors were paneled over, power, water and heat had been added, and the walls were painted a dusty rose.

“I guess I would say I pictured it just like this, but I didn’t know it until I’d seen it,” Drescher said.

Although Drescher anticipated opening in October, she needed to work with the city to rezone before her hair salon could open. Drescher said the city was helpful in working through the process with her.

“I did it,” she said. “I made my dream come true.”

Drescher’s salon is set up in a single salon suite style she said is becoming more common. When her customers come in, Drescher said the space is able to create a more intimate setting with few interruptions.

“It’s kind of nice just to have one-on-one quality time,” she said.

Before opening The Best Little Hair House, Drescher worked at Expressions in the open salon style. Although having a more singular setting has the potential to cut down on distractions, it has been a challenge adjusting away from the group setting, she said.

“The team support in a large salon is awesome,” and it’s fun, Drescher said. There were other people to help with laundry, answering the phone and booking appointments. But the move has given her flexibility to focus on her No. 1 priority: being a mom to her daughters.

“I’m ambitious in the way that I want to be successful … but really, I just want to, like, enjoy my children while they’re young, and I’ll worry more about growing when they don’t want to hang out with Mom anymore,” she said.

Drescher said many of her clients made the transition with her. One of those clients is Claire Bestul, who has had her hair cut by Drescher for four years.

“I don’t even live in Albert Lea anymore, but I come back because I like how she does it, and she knows my hair,” Bestul said.

Drescher has seen Bestul through a pixie cut (Drescher’s idea after Bestul requested a major change), the grow-back phases and a few colorings, which Bestul said is one of Drescher’s notable skills.

“You just feel like you’re Courtney’s friend as soon as you start talking to her,” Bestul said.

For Drescher, that’s one of her favorite parts of the job.

“I feel like I get to chit-chat with friends all day, you know, and make them look good,” she said.

By the numbers

165 –Square footage of The Best Little Hair House

25-30 – Hours Courtney Drescher works a week at The Best Little Hair House so she can set time aside for her girls

1928 – Year Jefferson Oil Co. opened a gas station at 726 Fountain St., now repurposed as The Best Little Hair House

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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