When Janelle Skinner clocked out a couple of Saturdays ago, it was the last day she “fixed” hair professionally after serving the community for 44 years. Skinner owned and operated Janell’s Beauty Salon in Simmons Shopping Center, where she paid $75 rent per month when she first opened the doors four decades ago.
A lot has changed over those 40 years, but many on her client list have not. Skinner said several women continued to patronize her business regularly and have since the day she began.
One of her most memorable customers was a Georgia Southern employee who found Janell’s Beauty Salon soon after she moved to Statesboro from India.
“While she was sitting here under the dryer, I helped her learn about Jesus,” said Skinner. “She learned a lot while sitting under the dryer. She told me she’d accepted Jesus.”
Skinner has no immediate plans for retirement, other than spending even more time with her great-granddaughters, Cassie, 6, and Natalie, 8.
Skinner’s daughters are both deceased, and she has one granddaughter, Melissa Gwinnett.
“I’m 80-years-old. That’s why I decided to finally give it up.”
Her patrons were sad to see her go, though, and two of her regular customers insisted she come one last Saturday to style their hair before retiring.
“I’ve loved all my ladies,” said Skinner. “I’ve seen a lot pass on and some move to nursing homes.
“Simmons Shopping Center has been a good neighborhood,” Skinner said. “I appreciate all my good customers. After you work so long, this becomes your life.”
Skinner said she always liked doing hair. She often gave home permanents to family members and cut family members’ hair. But she didn’t start out professionally as a hair dresser.
“I’ve worked since I was 15,” she said. “I worked at the Parkwood Hotel. I served breakfast before school, went to school, and then came back and served dinner.”
Skinner attended elementary school in Register and graduated from Marvin Pittman School.
Following high school, Skinner took a business course and worked with American Oil LP Gas Company for about a dozen years before going back to school to learn to do hair when her two girls were school-aged.