By Max Bennett
The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.
It’s not uncommon for small businesses to be family operated. But some family-run shops stand out from others.
Places such as Innovations Salon and Bryan’s Barbershop are examples of unique family businesses.
The salon is owned and operated by Cheryl Lathrop and her daughter Carly Haney.
The mother-daughter duo set up shop on Keystone Avenue in Sayre about 10 years ago after Haney moved back to the Valley from the Williamsport area and Lathrop branched off from her former business, Classic Hair Designs, on North Elmer Avenue.
Now, after years of prodding, Haney’s husband Bryan Haney has taken up the family trade and opened his barbershop in the same Keystone Avenue location.
Bryan Haney began clipping and shaving officially in January this year after completing a six-month-long barber program in Rochester.
“He was a machinist for 10 years,” Carly Haney said. “I begged him to go to barber school since we were 18. I kept saying, ‘just do it!'”
When he took a layoff, Bryan Haney seized the opportunity to do something new and work with his family.
But his training was difficult because he had to be away from the family.
“Moving away for six months was probably the hardest part,” he said.
Since returning to the Valley and getting a few months of barbering, Bryan Haney said shifting careers has been “great.”
“He’s loving it now that he’s getting busy,” his wife said.
Lathrop said in her experience, about a year’s time passes before a solid clientele base is established, but Bryan Haney is getting more and more clients in his chair as more people hear about his cutting and shaving skills.
He said Carly Haney and Lathrop’s clients are sending their husbands and children to him for their haircuts.
“So many men (we had as clients) came to us because their wives did,” Carly Haney said. “And now they have their own thing.”
Bryan Haney’s area features a TV with guy-friendly programming such as SportsCenter and even offers his customers cold beverages.
Bryan Haney is now a co-owner of the business, and the family all agrees that the dynamic is perfect.
“Nobody works for anybody here,” Lathrop said. “It’s the only way to do it.”
Carly Haney said the trio all contribute equally and that in her past experiences working for a boss or manager took some joy out of working with clients.
“I love it,” Carly Haney said of being her own boss. She worked in a large salon around 2003 for several years.
Lathrop said she began styling hair in the late ’70s and that her parents made her attend college before going to beauty school.
“My parents made me go to college for a year,” she said, “and when I went for a year I said, ‘now can I go to beauty school?'”
From then on Lathrop has helped women and men get the hairstyles they want, and Carly Haney quickly learned to love working with hair as well.
“I always knew I was going to do hair,” Carly Haney said. “I was always in my friends’ basements cutting hair on anybody who let me.”
Lathrop said her daughter wasn’t present too often when Lathrop was styling hair, but said she was around enough to push her toward a career in styling.
“Her oldest daughter,” Lathrop said of her granddaughter, “I guarantee she’ll be part of it someday, too.”
Carly Haney said her 11-year-old daughter has “big plans.”
“I’m supposed to train her in high school so as soon as she’s done she can start working,” Carly Haney said.
Bryan Haney finished his barber program in September and the family spent the interim months preparing a portion of the salon for a barber to move in.
The space in which he gives customers trims and shaves used to house a nail technician for manicures and pedicures.
“We had a couple nail techs in and out,” Carly Haney said.
She said the barbershop space was always “kind of empty.”
Bryan Haney’s mother was the first nail tech in the salon, then another tech who had a shop in Athens moved in after her location was flooded in 2011. She relocated after her place was renovated.
Lathrop said the previous nail tech in their salon had a dream of doing nails, but was battling breast cancer.
“She was one of my clients who went to nail tech school,” Lathrop said. “She wanted to retire and do nails.”
But Innovations gave her the chance to chase her dream, albeit briefly.
“She got to do it,” Carly Haney said. “She did a good job in here.”
Lathrop said she was able to work on clients’ nails for just two weeks before she became too ill to continue.
After the nail technician lost her fight with cancer nearly two years ago, the mother-daughter duo removed the nail tech equipment from the salon and began adding sinks, cabinets, and barber chairs after Bryan Haney returned from his barber program this past September.
There are currently two chairs in Bryan’s Barbershop and Bryan Haney said after becoming more established he plans on bringing in another barber to help him take on a hopefully large client base.
He said a lot of barbers in the Valley are getting older and potentially looking to hang up their shears and clippers, so Haney, being young, hopes to take on some of those customers and make them regular patrons.
Aside from adding another barber in the future, the family said they don’t have any plans to change the salon and barbershop.
“Right now things are going very smoothly,” Lathrop said.
Carly Haney said the family “would love to grow” the business eventually.
She said when she and Bryan’s two children get older, expansion will be a topic to address.
However, Carly Haney said “it’s all too easy right now,” so the family is riding the wave of clients it has had since Innovations’ opening 10 years ago.