‘A perfect match’

New beginnings for salon owners victimized by fire and former operator of Darrel’s

Photos by Karin Elton Darrel and Lori Hoogheem stand under the Hair Styles by Darrel awning one last time. A new awning is on order that will say Perfect Styles.

MARSHALL — Oct. 15, 2018, was a day when Brenda Olsen and Lisa Myhrberg’s world caved in. Their hair salon, Perfect Styles — their home away from home for the past 30 years — was destroyed from a fire at 348 W. Main St.

That was also the day that Darrel Hoogheem drove up in the alley and said to Myhrberg’s husband, Phil, who was hauling the few salvageable items out, “tell Lisa and Brenda there’s a place for them in my salon.”

On Oct. 16, Myhrberg walked into Hair Styles by Darrel, which is right around the corner on Third Street, and was greeted by the stylists who have worked at the salon for many years. Brenda Hoehne and Lisa Schoolmeester have worked there for 37 years and Amanda Podratz for 14.

“They gave me a hug and said here are some scissors and capes, make yourself at home,” Myhrberg said. “I didn’t have anything.”

Olsen and Myhrberg had been offered spaces in six other salons after the fire, but Myhrberg knew Schoolmeester because their husbands bowl in the same league and Hoehne, who also works at Hy-Vee “and is always friendly.” They used to cut Podratz’s hair when she was a child.

“She remembers the tractor that we have kids sit on,” Myhrberg said.

So Myhrberg and Olsen rented space at Darrel’s, grateful for the opportunity to keep working, but it was tough at first to carry on.

“We couldn’t even look at each other at first — we would start crying,” said Myhrberg. “It’s just a building, but it leaves a hole in your heart.”

At first the two were determined to remodel and go back to their former familiar space, but when they found out Hoogheem was ready to sell, they realized it was “a perfect match,” said Olsen. On Feb. 1, Olsen and Myhrberg bought the building that houses the salon, a two-bedroom apartment upstairs and a basement that could be used for office space or some other business. All three have separate entrances.

There wasn’t much that needed to be done at Darrel’s in the way of remodeling.

“We painted every square inch,” said Olsen.

The John Deere kid’s tractor survived the fire and has been brought over to Darrel’s.

“It had to be cleaned up, repainted and new decals put on,” said Olsen.

The changeover went well.

“It was a smooth transition,” said Lori Hoogheem, Darrel’s wife. Lori Hoogheem kept the books for years.

“They knew we’d take care of it,” Olsen said.

As emotional as it was for Olsen and Myhrberg to be separated from their longtime headquarters, Darrel Hoogheem feels pangs as well when he drives by the former Hair Styles by Darrel salon.

“It’s a part of you,” he said.

He retired from styling hair “11 or 12 years ago,” but until February still had the building he had purchased in 1976.

“I bought it from Pat McFarland when he built the mall,” Hoogheem said.

At that time there was a dentist’s office upstairs, a lawyer’s office in the back and a veterinarian in the basement. The Hoogheems later made an apartment out of the dentist’s office.

The Hoogheems have seen a lot of businesses come and go in downtown Marshall through the years — Olson & Lowe, Miller’s and Stone’s clothing stores come to mind, Lori Hoogheem said.

After graduating from Willmar Vo-Tec in 1962, Hoogheem worked in Canby at a salon and before long had his own shop.

“I bought out someone who was going out of business,” he said. “I had pennies in my pocket.”

He had to remodel his space and the the workers allowed him not to pay them immediately.

“They trusted me,” he said.

He soon had shops in Minneota, Cottonwood and Marshall — five going at one time. His first Marshall shop was in the theater building on Lyon Street.

“I bought the Flair salon and then Peg’s House of Coiffures in 1970 and made that into Hair Styles by Darrel,” Hoogheem said.

He also bought real estate. He had 57 units at one time and now he is down to 20.

“I’m 76 now,” he said, “so it’s time to sell.”

The Hoogheems have skipped town every winter for the last 19 years, heading to Mesa, Ariz. They live in a retirement park there and keep busy with the many activities there including karaoke and Marshall reunions at the Old Country Buffet.

“At the last one there were 97 people from the Marshall area,” he said.

The hair stylists are grateful for their customers.

“Thank you to being loyal 50 years with the salon,” said Darrel Hoogheem. “Thank you to all the stylists through the years of Darrel’s. A special thanks to Lisa, Brenda and Amanda and a special thanks to my beautiful wife for all the business management.”

Olsen and Myhrberg want to thank their customers too, for sticking by them through a tough time.

“They put up with us for the first three weeks,” Myhrberg said.

With all the changes for the clients, there is one thing that won’t change. Hairstyles by Darrel clients can still use the number they are familiar with and Perfect Styles regulars will have their own number.

“We’ll have two lines,” said Myhrberg.