Even if you haven’t been to Captain Zig-Zag Hair Salon, you’ve probably heard of it—and not just because of the funky name. The Norfolk salon, which has been around since the 1980’s and has a loyal client-base, closed its doors for the last time Wednesday.
Though the salon’s last few years were fruitful, owner Frances Greene’s 140-mile round-trip commute from her home in Matthews County has become too much to bear. In the wake of the iconic salon’s closing, Greene explained that the hardest part of her decision was not ending her business, but severing ties with long-term employees and clients.
“Once I knew I was leaving, I called my clients personally to let them know, and we cried and spoke over the phone about what I was doing,” she said. “When you work with people for over 36 years, they are your friends, not just your clients. It’s heart-wrenching.”
Despite the closing of her business, Greene says she’s nowhere close to retirement.
“I’ve found a job at a salon about 30 minutes from my home. I should retire, but I love to make hair pretty,” she explained. “I’ll have to build a new client-base by scratch, but it will give time to get to know people in my community, which is a nice blessing.”
Another blessing for Greene—several of her oldest clients and friends have pledged to drive the 140 miles to Matthews County every few weeks to continue working with her. Some of these clients are those that stuck with her through her most difficult times, including cancer treatments.
“My favorite client was an advocate for me. She went with me to the first two or three months of treatments and held my hand,” Greene said. “Another one of my clients would sit with and do crossword puzzles, and afterwards we would go to lunch. I never had to join a cancer support group because I have so many friends.”
The salon won’t be empty for long. DelVecchio’s pizza, located next door, plans to expand its kitchen in to the space.
In addition to the salon, Gray’s Pharmacy, established in 1918, will be closing up shop in the same building at the end of November.
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