Kitty’s salon purring along

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Back in 1978, Kitty Martin returned to Suffolk. Recently laid off from G.C. Murphy Warehouse in Fredericksburg, she came home to find a new start. One day in Chuckatuck, she happened past an empty building on King’s Highway. The place had once been a beauty shop, but its previous owners had vacated.

Martin had been a hairdresser since she’d graduated from the Suffolk Beauty Academy in 1974. But her cosmetic talents hadn’t been used…yet.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I’d always wanted to go into business for myself, but I didn’t know if I could do it at 22,&uot; Martin recalls.

She decided to take a chance. The vacancy became Kitty’s Beauty Salon, a place for locals to find a new meticulous hairstyle.

&uot;It was slow at first,&uot; Martin says, &uot;but people came, and they brought their friends, and their friends brought their friends. It was like a domino effect.&uot;

The dominoes haven’t stopped falling. On Saturday afternoon, Martin and over 60 of her customers celebrated the salon’s 25th anniversary in Oakland Christian Church.

&uot;It doesn’t seem like that long,&uot; Martin sighs, staring at a room jammed she’d beautified over the past quarter-century. &uot;They allowed me to do a service for them, and I’m proud and honored that they came today.&uot;

During the 10 years she lived in Smithfield, Bonnie Brooks was a regular at the salon. &uot;Kitty always knows exactly what I want done – a shampoo, a cut, and every three months, a perm,&uot; she says. &uot;She is the best.&uot;

In 2001, Brooks moved to Hampton. But her hair choice didn’t change. &uot;I still come to Kitty’s, and I’m going to as long as I live,&uot; she says. &uot;And when I die, she’s going to fix my hair for my funeral!&uot;

Brooks has had some companionship in her Kitty trips for the past five years; her twin nieces, Kristen and Victoria.

&uot;Kitty always had a great sense of humor, and she was really nice,&uot; says Victoria, 12 (the girls attend Smithfield Middle School). &uot;She always talks about how tall we are! As long as she’s there, we’ll be there.&uot;

Visiting the salon might turn Kristen into Kitty’s new prodigy. &uot;When she cuts my hair, I know exactly what’s going to happen, and it makes me feel good,&uot; she says. &uot;I want to cut hair, because you get to meet a lot of new people, and you know that little kids feel good when you cut their hair.&uot;