SHEILA RALPH is shown here at Sheila’s Styling Salon. She just celebrated being in business for 50 years.
(Independent Photo/Melissa Shepard)
Sheila Ralph, owner of Sheila’s Styling Salon just celebrated her 50th Anniversary in business on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Sheila’s mom was the neighborhood beautician growing up. As a child she watched women come in with messy hair and walk out beautiful and decided that doing hair was something she wanted to do. “I was just a child but it just fascinated me. I knew that was what I wanted to do. It looked like fun and you make people look good. And that’s your crowning glory,” said Sheila.
Sheila didn’t want to go right into beauty school, so she had a few other jobs, saving money to pay for cosmetology school. After graduating from Mr. David’s School of Cosmetology in 1966, she went to work for a beauty salon in Owosso for 2 years. At this time her husband’s parents owned the house that is now Sheila’s Styling Salon. Plans and renovations were made, equipment was bought and after finishing out the rest of the year, Sheila opened Sheila’s Styling Salon on Jan. 3, 1973. Becky Bila was her partner. Between the duo’s current customer base and word of mouth, they were literally “in business.”
Bila left after 9 or 10 years and sold her part to Candy Butcher, who left after 4-5 years. Lastly, Pam Horn worked with Sheila for 19 years. For the last 10 years, Sheila has been running the business alone. “It got slow, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I had thought about retiring prior to the pandemic, but after 3 weeks at home, I decided that I couldn’t just sit at home all the time. I just work part-time now,” said Sheila.
Sheila remarked, “The hairstyles have changed so much. It used to be that a woman got her hair done once a week, they had standing appointments.”
When asked what was the best part of being a beautician for so long, Sheila said, “The people I’ve met. I’ve met some phenomenal people that I never would have met working somewhere else. I’ve made some lasting friendships and met a lot of people in the industry. There is nothing I would do different. It seems like everything worked out like it should have.” Sheila has been married to her husband Bob for 52 years. They live in Owosso and have a son, Jared. Sheila graduated from Corunna High School in 1964 and she is active in many organizations in the area. “If you see the American flag flying at the salon, I’m here,” Sheila said.