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By Peter Sawyer
In 1970 Harriet Cooper opened a beauty salon on N. Bridge Street. One of her classmates from cosmetology school, 19-year-old Kathy Witt, came to work with her after graduating. After a year there, Witt became owner of Kathy’s Beauty Salon.
She’s been a fixture in the community ever since.
Witt has run the business on N. Bridge Street for almost 40 years. On Valentine’s Day Witt moved the Salon to 102A Turnpike Rd., removing a long-running business from Centertown Bedford.
Amy and Rick Phillips, Witt’s former landlords, said they will be opening a bakery, “Pies & More,” into Witt’s former suite.
“My overhead was getting as much as I myself was taking in,” Witt said of the move.
The transition has been emotional for Witt, but she sees how it will benefit her business.
“It’s been very hard,” Witt said. “I was devastated for two weeks. (I have) so many close friends in the building.”
Witt is confident that her clients will follow her to the new location. She has older customers who had trouble walking to her salon downtown; the new location will be more accessible to the less mobile.
“For our older clients it’s going to be easier,” Witt said. “I think it’s going to be a good move.”
Witt said she has deliberately maintained a small business over the years.
“I’ve always stayed small because I like to give everybody my undivided attention,” Witt said.
She has only one employee, Nancy Mitchell, who has worked for her since 1998.
“We like it little,” Witt said. “We like that personal relationship with everybody. Everybody confides in a hairdresser.”
The meat and bones of Witt’s business is relationships. She gets to know her clients, talks to them about their lives, and embraces them when she sees them.
“I would do anything for [those] ladies,” Witt said. “I love them to death.”
Witt has many customers who have faithfully employed her services since she started. And she trusts they will follow her to her new location.