Watching traffic roll by her mother’s hair salon, 4-year-old Hannah Clark pursed her lips pensively before saying, “I want to be everything in the world there is to be when I grow up.”
Hannah’s mother, Jennie, smiled as she ran a comb through her daughter’s hair.
“That’s a good answer,” Jennie Clark said, trimming the ends of Hannah Clark’s long, brown hair.
While her daughter had yet to refine her life’s aspirations, the 39-year-old hair stylist said her future was always clear.
“I have known since I was 3 I was going to do hair,” Jennie Clark said. “I was the girl who braided people’s hair in class. The teacher would say, ‘Jennie, this isn’t a hair salon.’ I always thought, ‘Well, one day it will be.’”
Bringing her dreams into reality, she opened her second hair salon, Licina’s Locks, in June at 2058 Snowy Range Road.
“My dad’s mother was Serbian, and her maiden name was Licina,” Jennie Clark explained. “I never met her, so I wanted to honor her by naming the shop after her.”
Formerly the Beanery Restaurant, she said the building’s history haunted her throughout the three-year remodel process.
“I would have people coming up and asking when the Beanery was going to open again and telling me how to make burritos,” Jennie Clark said. “It was pretty crazy.”
Purchased by her parents in the ‘80s, Jennie Clark said her family would frequently visit the restaurant during her childhood.
“My parents owned the John Deere dealership a couple blocks down,” she said. “So we would come over here and eat once in a while. It was great.”
But she had other plans for the West Laramie location. After operating Ambience Hair Design in the downtown area, Jennie Clark said she wanted something larger, something in West Laramie and something she could transform.
“I wanted to move out of the downtown and have a bigger place and a bigger team,” she said. “Making this a hair salon was always my plan B.”
Jennie Clark said she enjoyed the downtown area, but being raised in West Laramie, she saw a need to build up the business community on Snowy Range Road.
“I really want this side of town to grow,” she said. “Downtown is great, but there is a whole community on this side of (Interstate 80) that only goes that direction to shop at Wal-Mart.”
Cleaning up a building that stood vacant for years was no easy task, however. Some of the location’s challenges were removing the cooking equipment, reworking the building’s electrical setup and fixing the plumbing, she said.
“Turning an old restaurant into a hair salon is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Jennie Clark said. “The last tenant left the place kind of a mess.”
While all four employees at Licina’s Locks are trained hair stylists, she said the shop has more to offer than just a fancy hairdo.
“I went for a kind of boutique feel,” Jennie Clark said. “We need more boutiques in Laramie.”
Customers can find a selection of clothing, shoes and accessories at Licina’s Locks, as well as nail care and cosmetic services.
“The fashion style is very varied, and it will change with the seasons,” she said. “I only carry one of each item, so it’s a one-of-a-kind type deal. It won’t be things you could find at Wal-Mart or Maurice’s.”
Whether it’s hair, nails, makeup or clothing, Jennie Clark said Licina’s Locks is all about making sure the customer leaves happy.
“The biggest thing for us is consistency — we want to take very good care of our customers,” she said. “We all have years of experience doing hair. And if a customer doesn’t get exactly what they want, we’ll do whatever it takes to make it right.”