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Hillsdale hair salon hits 45th birthday this year

HILLSDALE - On a Saturday morning at Images Unlimited Salon on Vermont Street, owner Sandy Liptak smoothes Doris Palmer's hair into rollers. The two are longtime friends, and Palmer's move to Newberg 12 years ago hasn't stopped her from coming to the salon to get her hair done. She has been a customer at the salon since Liptak took over the salon in 1980.

'I have a certain hair style that they can do the way I like it,' she says as Liptak's fingers work through her gray hair. 'I tried someone in Newberg, but it just wasn't the same. As long as I can drive, I will come back to Images Unlimited. It's like family here.'

Images Unlimited celebrates its 45th birthday this year. The small, vintage-style salon prides itself on customer service and the longevity of its clientele. The shop opened in 1963 under the name of Vermont Hills Beauty Salon. After 11 years, former owners Maxine and Harold White turned the store over to Liptak. Working at the salon was her first job after she graduated from beauty school.

'What's unique about our shop is our clients,' Liptak said. 'Everyone knows everyone - we grow up with their kids and know about their families. We have a personal relationship with our customers, therefore we're like family.'

Liptak's philosophy isn't just talk; she has been known to make house calls, visit sick clients in the hospital to do their hair or transport customers who can no longer drive to the salon and back for an appointment.

The shop has undergone few changes over the past 45 years. The original salon chairs, shampoo bowls, dryers, desks and floors are still in use, although the walls were recently painted. The three hairstylists, Jenny Tuntstall, Teri Wippert and Liptak herself have worked there for 16, 14, and 28 years, respectively.

'Sandy's a great boss,' Tunstall said as she scrubbed, filed, and polished client Karen Haver's toenails. 'We all get along really well here. I have two kids, and it helps to have flexible hours. I love my clients.'

Haver has returned to Images Unlimited regularly since the Whites owned the salon, even though she has moved to Vancouver, Wash.

'I don't trust anybody but Jenny to cut my hair,' she said.

Longtime customer Norma McCauley became a staff member about a year ago and now works as the salon's receptionist. Her daughter, Shannon McCauley, is 18 years old, and remembers getting haircuts at Images Unlimited since she was 4 or 5.

'It's just tradition, I guess,' Shannon McCauley said. 'In my family, it's the only place you get your hair cut.'