By Chris Stach
Thirty years ago, on April 1, 1985, it was more than just April Fool's Day for Brookfield's own Lisa Vahldick Meyer. It was her first day at work at the Brookfield Beauty Salon, 9152 Broadway Ave.
Today the shop is named The Broadway Hair Salon, and it is the oldest continually operating beauty salon in the village, since 1931.
"I went with my best girlfriend on our bikes the last day of our freshman year at RB to Pam Matthews' house," says Meyer, "where Pam gave my friend 'feathered wings' and I watched her do it — incorrectly of course — we were just high school students. But it was an epiphany to me. I just knew that I had to cut hair. Pam let me take the safety razor and cut 'feathers' in her hair."
"A year later I started at the LaGrange Beauty School on LaGrange Road, and then one year at Oak Park American, then I worked two years at J.C. Penney's in North Riverside. Outside of that I have always worked in Brookfield."
While in beauty school, her grandmother revealed to her a surprise — that she, too, had done hair. And her brother had been a barber, and so had been her great grandfather. It turned out that she was going into the "family business."
So it was 30 years ago that she began working here at the Brookfield Beauty Salon.
"And then I sort of walked into ownership here seven years ago when the last owner retired, and I wanted to keep my job, so I had to take over," she said.
Today she does the "classic stuff"— permanents, roller sets, blow-dry curling iron, frostings.
"In the beginning it was all about hair, but now it's all about people," Meyer says "Gosh, I love the people. My clientele is probably 80 percent seniors."
Lisa keeps her shop interesting by decorating it with books, plants, pictures and shelves of historical beauty supplies in a display case.
"It feels like home here," she says.
Still, she doesn't believe the interior look of the shop is much different than it was three decades ago.
Children stop by and peek in her store window to see what display she's set up.
"I get a big charge out of that!" she laughs.
She has been kept pretty busy.
"Years ago, there used to be five of us working here at one time. I need more stylists," Meter says. "I have Millie, she's my right arm, and she helps me a lot."
For her anniversary on April 1, she plans to celebrate her 30 years with "cupcakes or something," kind of low key.
Her business philosophy is a simple one: "I do the best I can to give the people what they want."