CLEVELAND — After decades serving Northeast Ohio, two beloved businesses are closing their doors. Thayer’s Select Meats in Parma will be closing on Saturday, May 14, while The Hairlines salon in Mayfield Heights will say goodbye on Saturday, May 21.
Thayer’s Select Meats has been a family affair from the beginning, founded by father Robert Thayer in 1966 and later run by his daughters. Now, Maureen Thayer-Funfgeld is at the helm, giving hugs and swapping stories with customers who stopped by on Thursday.
Her sister, Margaret Mary Thayer-Simonelli, always knew she would work at the family’s shop one day, becoming partners with Maureen and even taking over the family business from their father.
“I knew I was going to be in the business,” Thayer-Simonelli said. “That was awesome, to work with your sister every day.”
But Thayer-Funfgeld wasn’t as convinced at first, laughing when she recalled how she got involved.
“I had no intentions of doing this,” she said. “I went away to college for four years, got my degree. I was working here and I went to go get another job and my father said, ‘you’re not going to make any money doing that, you better come into the business.’ So he pretty much bribed me, and that’s how I started.”
The sisters teamed up to take the reins in 1991, with Thayer-Simonelli eventually leaving. But even though she isn’t at the shop daily anymore, Thayer-Simonelli said there has been an outpouring of support shown over the closing of the business.
“It’s just so crazy the people that have come in today that I have not seen in at least 10, 12 years, and they’re hugging me and it’s like I never left,” she said. “It’s so sad, the community is so sad.”
The closing is a sad, but important moment for the family. Thayer-Funfgeld has cancer, and said it’s time to step back and focus on her health.
“It came back and I need to take care of myself,” she said. “That’s priority, that’s really what it comes down to.”
The sisters said they will miss their loyal customers and staff, all of whom have become like family over the years.
“We know our customers, we know their kids, we know when their spouse dies, we know when they’re moving, we know when their grandkids are born,” said Thayer-Simonelli. “It’s that kind of relationship, and our dad had it with the customers. He knew every customer’s name.”
Over in Mayfield Heights, Rick and Debbie Capretta have also seen the importance of forming those bonds with customers. They’ve been at The Hairlines salon for 45 years, starting as stylists. Now, they are planning to retire, Rick serving as owner, and Debbie as treasurer and secretary.
“You’ve seen these people forever and become friends, and that’s the sad part,” said Debbie. “And yet, I’m looking forward to enjoying our lives. I mean, not doing payroll every weekend, not cleaning, not doing – that’s one of the reasons.”
Both Rick and Debbie are turning 70 soon, and said it’s time for them to start a new chapter. But that doesn’t mean saying goodbye has been easy.
“We’ve been crying out in the parking lot for the past two weeks because everybody wants that last haircut, but I’ll see them,” Debbie said. “We all have lunch plans, we all plan to meet.”
“We’ve done like three different generations of families,” Rick said. “You start off with the parent, then they send their parent in, then they have their grandchildren, then the grandchildren’s children. Over the years it’s been so nice, such nice people.”
While they’ve met other people’s families, the shop has also played a huge role in the Capretta’s family. Rick remembers his kids and grandkids running around the salon, and those special moments like seeing them stop by in their Halloween costumes.
“How many times the kids came in – my kids, our kids when they were little, now our grandchildren come in,” he said. “It’s a family shop, too. The compliment that we’re getting from everybody is everybody felt so comfortable here. No pressure, talk to people, get to know people, it was really fun.”
The Caprettas have seen the hairstyles change throughout the years, Debbie remembering the “Farrah Fawcett” and “Princess Di” inspired ‘dos, but it’s clear that the friendships formed will never go out of style.
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