SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — After 73 years in business, 93-year-old Roberta Minor still sees at least one or two customers a day, going into R and E House of Beauty at 4:30 a.m. most Saturdays for clients who want to start their weekends with a fresh style.
But she's rightfully getting tired, and her doctor recently told her to cut back her hours.
Lois Davis, one of two daughters taking turns assisting at R and E House of Beauty over the years, said Minor can't seem to shake the remaining few clients, who cling to her mother as if she were their own.
"Mother has two biological children, but about 500 people call her mother," Davis said. "Fifty of them actually treat her like she is their mother."
Davis said her mother has had quite an impact on Milam Street, where R and E has operated since 1956, and on the greater communities of Shreveport.
Minor has been doing some customers' hair all their lives. More than that, Davis said, Minor and her late business partner, Elgin Hill, made it possible for many young people to have careers.
The two opened Magnetic Beauty School next to their salon in 1958. Hill died in 2005; the school closed in February.
"Up to the end we had an unheard-of low tuition," said Minor.
"People were sad when we closed the school," Davis added. "When they opened the school, things were very segregated. The school gave people a vehicle. They've helped so many people have careers."
Milam Street was a busy place when the school and salon opened in the 1950s, Minor said. A hotel stood next door; stores surrounded the beauty salon, which now faces an empty lot and is almost the lone business on the block.
Minor may cut her hours back, but she is not relinquishing control. R and E House of Beauty is seeing a steady flow of clients. Minor still is running the show, but with the help of her beauty operators and daughter.
Minor's strong business ethic and impact recently earned her a Lifetime Achievement award from Iota Phi Lamda Sorority Inc.'s Beta Psi Chapter.
It's the business and professional sorority's highest recognition, going to someone who's been in business many yaers and has given back to the community, member Janie Samuels.
"We all fell in love with Ms. Minor and Ms. Hill years ago. She has worked with young people and been part of this community a long time," Samuels said.
Minor said her business philosophy has been to help others when possible and rely on God when troubled times come.
"I tell you, I had to do a lot of praying, the Master kept us open. He sent us help," she said.
Davis said there have been times when her mother has considered selling the business, but decided against it.
"We've just been here so long," Davis said.
Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com