Hokenson had gotten very, very used to coming downstairs each morning to grab some coffee and a newspaper, doing a crossword puzzle and chatting with the women at the salons.
Griffin’s salon had been in the same place for 20 years, and over that time, Venicia, who lived alone, had become family. The rest of the stylists adopted her as well — or Venicia adopted them, whichever. Universally, she was Grandma.
“She’s the mayor, the fire department and the police department of Arnold Court,” said Brandy Clark, one of the stylists who worked at Talk of the Town.
Last year, Venicia’s health took a turn for the worse and the stylists and some of their clients stepped in.
“I couldn’t walk and they cleaned my place, did my laundry, brought me food,” she said. “They took care of me.”
Of the five destroyed hair salons at Arnold Court, three are now consolidated into one business, Hair’s All of Us, at 1500 S. Main St.
Lott, Clark, Griffin, Edie’s owner Edna Humerickhouse and another former Talk alumnus, Kelly Goebel, all work at the bustling salon, which they opened within a week of the tornado.
“We wanted to set up as quickly as possible. We all went to lunch one day and we decided we’d all like to stay together,” Clark said. “We’d all been together for nine years. We’re a family.”
Two months after the storm, Griffin said the stylists haven’t lost any of their clients. Several, like longtime client Donna Hamilton, came over to Arnold Court right after the storm to help clean up.
“As long as I knew they were OK, I was all right,” Hamilton said, as Griffin buffed her nails. “But I’ll always remember seeing Grandma’s couch.”
“Can you tell she’s had a big impact?” Griffin interjected, drawing a round of laughs around the salon.