By Mary Pritchard, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Behind the reception desk, Justine Sanborn proudly displays the first dollar earned in her business, along with another source of great pride for her – a photo of her mother, who was, and continues to be, integral to Justine and her work.
A hairstylist for 22 years, Justine dreamed of opening her own salon. She and her husband, Kevin, both lifelong Shrewsbury residents, carefully considered their plan to make Justine's dream a reality.
“We waited until our kids were in school so I could devote the time necessary to make it a success,” Justine said. “A good location was also very important to us.”
While the Sanborns were looking for property and ready to embark on the new venture, they endured a heartbreaking loss. Justine's mother, Dianne Miller, was diagnosed with colon cancer and passed away three months later, at the age of 65.
“My mother was my best friend,” Justine said. “She was such a part of my work too. She's come to the salon I worked at to visit and she's sweep, run errands, anything to help out – she just loved being there – she didn's have a paying job there, she just enjoyed working with me. She always wanted me to have my own salon.”
Six months after Dianne's death, the Sanborns found the property and began planning for the new salon, but that would soon be another source of heartbreak for Justine.
“After eight years of looking, we finally found this building in July of 2007. Our offer and deposit were accepted, the home inspection was done – it was a done deal – we were just waiting to close,” she said. “Suddenly the seller told us he was selling it to someone else. We had a three-year legal fight that was a financial and emotional drain. All the money we had saved for the business had to be put into attorney fees.”
Justine said they had spent too much money and energy to give up.
“I had lost my mother and I just couldn's lose this too,” she said.
They closed on the property in April 2010. Justine credits her husband for all he has done to help keep her dream alive.
“It's been a long struggle to get here,” she said. “Kevin saw the business as a good opportunity for our family, but he really did all this for me. He renovated the building, handles the business and the property and I do what I love – cut hair.”
Kevin added, “It was all worth it in the end.”
Remembrances of her mother were interspersed throughout the salon Justine created.
“Her favorite color was purple, so I knew I wanted at least one purple wall and purple on my business cards in her memory,” she said. “Everyone called my mother Dee or Deedee. I decided to name it “Salon 4D”; meaning “Salon for Dee.” I was shopping for something decorative for each station and came across orchids – her favorite flower – and they just happened to be purple and cream. I have wild orchids throughout the space.”
Reflecting on where she is now and the recent fifth anniversary of her mother's death, Justine said she feels as though her mother is always with her.
“I's happy; I have four healthy children and a wonderful husband. Many of my clients have been with me for 20 years and knew my mother. They remember her and I's so glad – she was a great woman. I feel her presence all the time. It's been a huge accomplishment to reach my goal and it's too bad she wasn's here to see it. I taped her picture to the desk so that there is not a day that goes by that I don's see and think about her.”