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Sisters share ‘shear’ joy of togetherness

After six years of styling hair in the same salon and a lifetime of working together, sisters Ruthie DeHaven and Janie Casey have now made the move to be in business together.
The two women opened Sisters and Shears, a family hair salon on North Main Avenue in Erwin, so they can continue to working side by side, something they have done most of their adult lives.
“I love working with my sister,” DeHaven, who funded the start-up, said. “That’s the one reason we came over here. They stopped letting us work together.”
DeHaven and Casey, who were born and raised in Erwin, carpooled for six years to a salon in the Johnson City Wal-Mart. When their schedules changed and they could no longer work together, they decided to move their talents back to their hometown.
“We love our customers over there, we just wanted to be home,” DeHaven said.
The journey to opening the salon began more than 10 years ago when DeHaven decided to go to beauty school. At the time, Casey was pregnant with her son, so DeHaven went alone. She graduated from Tri-Cities Beauty School and earned her cosmetologist license in 2002. Then, she convinced her younger sister to go.
At the time, Casey’s husband, Danny, was out of work, so DeHaven and the women’s mother, Shirley Higgins, paid Casey’s tuition. Casey graduated in 2004.
“Janie looks up to Ruthie,” Higgins, who has been in Erwin since she was 4, Higgins said. “She likes to get her opinion on everything.”
While at the salon in Johnson City, DeHaven and Casey became known as “the sisters” to co-workers and clients.
“They would come in and say, ‘I want one of the sisters to do my hair,’” DeHaven said. The sisters identified that people who needed their hair cut and styled wanted it done by somebody they could recognize. This, coupled with their desires to work together and return to their hometown, helped them make the decision to start Sisters and Shears.
On May 1, DeHaven and her husband, Donald, leased the space next to Rocky’s Pizza in the Erwin Village Shoppe’s center that once housed a laundromat.
“Renovating was really a job,” said DeHaven, who worked at the salon in Johnson City while preparing the salon in Erwin. “There were holes in the walls and the plumbing had all been removed.”
The salon, now decorated with neutral paint and photographs of hair styles, features a sitting area with cushioned chairs and a table with magazines and coloring materials for children. DeHaven said she wanted the decor to reflect the feeling of home both she and Casey sought when coming back to Erwin.
Since both sisters had to keep working in Johnson City while finishing their own salon, DeHaven said they could not advertise the new business or they risked losing their jobs.
“We had to keep it hush-hush pretty much until the day before we opened,” DeHaven said.
The salon opened on June 16, and Casey said business has increased each week since then. Higgins, whose house neighbors DeHaven’s, said she believes that once word of the salon is spread, the business will do well.
“They are very likeable girls,” Higgins said, “and I’m not just saying that because I’m their mother.”
The sisters, who live two miles from each other and go to church together at Faith Baptist Church, said they are glad to be working in the community they live in.
“I’ve seen a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time, because we would be gone 11 hours a day,” Casey said.
Most of all, though, the sisters said they are glad to be together. Higgins describes the business as a perfect situation.
“They’re so close,” their mother said. “They don’t have disagreements and they come together on everything.”
The family salon offers cuts, styles, colors and permanents to folks of all ages on a walk-in basis. While they hope to eventually expand, DeHaven and Casey said they have what they want right now.
“We just wanted to come home,” Casey said. “And we just wanted to be together.”
For more information about Sisters and Shears Family Hair Salon, call 743-4269.