By Sue Moore
Brittany Hovious, ready to operate her own beauty salon, needed a place to call home. She found just the right fit at 102 S. Main street, in a building previously owned by Dr. Bob Dornbos, who recently retired.
Dr. Dornbos had sold the building to the families of Ron and Lupe Smith and Scott and Veronica Levin two months ago. They are renting to her.
“It was perfect for my needs, with space for three hair stylists, all the plumbing we needed with counters and built-in cabinets. All I did was buy salon fixtures. I’d been saving for a long time as it’s been my dream to have my own place since I started in the business nine years ago,” Hovious said.
She began work right out of Vicksburg High School with Jackie Stevens for five years, then with Mandy Miller for a year, Kemi Laing for two years and most recently at MSpa in Portage. She has been mentoring Yezmene Vanderbor, who graduated from VHS this June. Through the school’s Education for Employment, Vanderbor has already finished her beauty schooling. She will be one of the Shear Beauty stylists as well as seasoned veteran Michelle Cheesebro who had her own shop on Main Street for many years. Dawn Rygwelski, a certified lash extension lady, has also signed on with Hovious to rent a booth.
The business will have one person specializing in eyelash extensions and it will have two pedicure chairs in a private setting, Hovious said. She is certain that there is room for a new salon in Vicksburg. “There were eight salons when I started and we are down to only two and several one-person businesses out of their home.
“We each do our own booking and will also offer booking online at shearbeautysalongspa.com. The phone number is 269-888-3633.” The salon opened on June 1.
Hovious’ fiancé, James Stephens, urged her to try stepping out on her own. She has prepared for the challenge by completing business courses at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She essentially has been running her own business for the last nine years, renting a booth from each of the previous owners she has worked under. “I’ve built my business by referrals from family and friends and word of mouth. I love doing color. In two hours I can totally change a person’s experience and looks. You have to know the client’s hair to formulate what chemistry is needed for their color.”
“I knew from when I was in middle school that I was going to do hair. I would help all my friends do braids and other styles. It came natural to me and I love it,” Hovious said.