Creating a community at the Blue Moon Salon

When you’ve done something for as long as Mitzi Cope has, you tend to learn a thing or two — not just about business, but about life.

“We’ve done hair 24 years, and we’ve had this business for 11 years in this location,” said Cope, referring to her sister Denise Harmon-Finger.

And as they’ve watched the world go by, outside the window of their Blue Moon Salon tucked away in the plaza at 300 Haywood Road in Waynesville, they say their success comes not just from cutting hair, but from creating a sense of community.

“We’ve done great,” Cope said. “The salon is thriving right now.”

Cope’s busy salon doesn’t really have a “slow season,” even when the second-home crowd dwindles during the winter.

“We do a lot of Florida people, but we do a lot of locals — that’s what keeps you going,” she said.

In a female-dominated industry such as this, Cope must differentiate herself from other woman-owned salons, and does so by striving for that sense of community created when she gives personal attention to her clientele.

“We try to make our experiences with our clients more personal, and get to know them better so we know if they’ve got the right style, or the right cut or whatever they need,” she said. “We try to help people, and it seems like more people enjoy coming here than they do other salons. They can have a good time and a good experience.”

The relationships built at Blue Moon Salon don’t end at the door; in fact, that’s only where they start.

“We like to help people,” she said. “If people are disabled, we help them get in and out. I have a blind lady we help, we have crippled people in wheelchairs — we try to help everybody.”

The salon boasts a budding social scene, where more than just cuts and curls are dispensed.

“A lot of clients come in here, and if they need some help with a job, or finding someone, we usually know someone, a local,” Cope said. “We can hook them up with someone, and get them a better deal.”

But sometimes it’s not about action — often, Cope said, it’s about reaction.

“I sat out here one day, and I heard someone hollerin’ over by the church and couldn’t figure out what it was. Somebody had locked themself out of the church on the patio, so I kept going around, made a bunch of phone calls, and we finally got them out,” she laughed.

And as the world passes by that window, sometimes Cope and her crew see opportunities to contribute to the community that has sustained them for so long.

“We see people wreck, we see them fall out here, and we run out the door and help them, get them calmed down so EMS can help them,” she said. “The more credits you get here on earth, you get that many in heaven.”

But being part of the woman-owned business community not only comes with rewards, it also comes with obligations.

“It means you’ve got to be on your game — you can’t afford to be there and not know what you’re doing. You want to have a good clean area for people to come into,” Cope said. “We try to make it feel like home so they can come in here whether they’re rich or they’re not so they can feel like they belong.”

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