Ruth Siler Manning, who has worked as a beautician in Williamsburg for over 53 years, said that the secret to keeping a business successful for so many years is being friendly and treating your customers well.
“It has been both ways and I have always had good customers” Manning added.
Manning said the thing she has enjoyed the most about her career has been all of her customers, and they are the thing she will miss most in retirement.
“I have always had a good bunch of customers. I love meeting people,” she said. “I have some customers that I have had ever since I have been working.”
Manning, who was 19 years old when she started working as a beautician on March 1, 1963, retired Friday afternoon.
She initially started working out of Lois Patrick’s flower shop with her sister-in-law, Jewell Siler.
From there, they moved to a little green and brown building across from Farmer’s Bank, and then onto a shop adjacent to the Lane Theater, Jewell’s Beauty Shop, until April 1992 when Manning bought R.D. Jones shop below the Masonic Lodge along Main Street.
Manning worked out of that building until the Williamsburg Flower Shop fire in late September 2014, which damaged many of the businesses adjacent to it, including Manning’s shop.
After the fire, Manning contacted Scissor’s Edge owner Donna Whittaker, who is related to her husband, about possibly renting some space there.
Whittaker told her that she didn’t have to rent a station and she could just work with her, which is what she has done for the past two years.
“I have enjoyed it a lot,” Manning noted about the last two years.
Whittaker said the feeling is mutual.
“She is so sweet. I have enjoyed having her the last two years. She will be missed very much and I hope she comes back,” Whittaker added. “I am hoping she will stay off maybe three or four months and decides she misses it and comes back.”
Whittaker, who has been a beautician for 34 years, said she might make it to the 50-year plateau herself.