Lisa Hanna retired from cutting, perming and coloring hair Thursday, closing The Haircutters in downtown Statesboro after doing the hair of some of her first customers one last time.
Hanna was in business for 41 years, first on Vine Street for 31 years, and then for 10 years in The Haircutters’ final location on Courtland Street east of the Judicial Annex. After graduating from Southeast Bulloch High School, she went to Paris Beauty School in Savannah for nine months and passed the state board exam to become a licensed cosmetologist. Without working for anyone else, Hanna then bought The Haircutters and went into business for herself in January 1977.
“It’s rewarding work, not just doing the hair but the friendships you make,” she said. “I have had some really, really good customers who I wouldn’t take a million dollars for their friendship.”
Cheryl Walker, who started having Hanna fix her hair in 1977, scheduled with her for the last appointment to make the 41 years complete.
“She was always very professional and very good, and I always looked so nice when she finished with me,” Walker said, laughing a little at having complimented herself. “I guess I’ll have to find someone else, but I won’t ever find anyone like Lisa. She’s a sweetheart.”
Nellie Meeks, who long operated Statesboro Credit Bureau next door to Hanna’s previous Vine Street location, was her business mentor there. Meeks also became a customer at The Haircutters, 40-plus years ago, and remained one until Hanna’s last day in business.
“No, not yet,” Meeks said when asked if she had found another hairdresser.
Juanita Denmark Newton was a customer of Hanna’s for 30 years or more.
“I’m happy that she has a chance to retire, but I’m unhappy because I won’t have her for a hairdresser,” Newton said, choking up a little. “I’m going to miss her very, very much.”
Hanna gave her a hug.
The hairdresser knows
We’re not telling who had color added, and Hanna isn’t telling a lot of what she has heard from customers over the years, either.
“You know all about their families, their illnesses,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and you just learn so much from them. I grew up on a farm out in Nevils, and I didn’t know the Statesboro people, but once I got here … once I met the DeLoaches and the Brannens and the Smiths and the Deals, I pretty much knew everybody from there on.”
But they weren’t all Statesboro people, anyway. Newton is from Brooklet, and Walker hails from the Emit Grove community.
Besides customers who have stayed with her for decades, Hanna has served the haircare needs of literally generations in some families. For example, she did the hair of the late Lucy Donaldson, her daughter Dottie Garvin, Garvin’s daughter Lucy Brinson, and for a short time Brinson’s daughter Adeana.
Hanna had male customers too, and the men have been some of the most upset to see her go, not knowing whom they should trust for their next haircut.
Earlier she employed associates, but for many of those 41 years, Hanna operated a one-hairdresser shop. She has multiple sclerosis, and now 60, said that the work had become more difficult. It required standing long hours, using her arms and helping people into and out of the chair.
“I don’t think we have a lot going on in Statesboro for M.S., and when I retire, I would like to try to get a walk or something going for M.S.,” she said.
She gardens and travels some with her husband in their RV. She would also like to spend more time doing things like visiting people in nursing homes and at the hospice, she said.
Hanna didn’t sell the shop, just closed it. So if a hair-related business moves into her former location, it won’t be The Haircutters. There are more stylists in town now.
Her husband Keith Hanna, an employee of the Bulloch County government, has been very supportive of her decision to retire, even with some of the things from the shop showing up at home. He was scheduled to take down “The Haircutters” sign, making it official.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.