BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
People go to hair salons to have their hair styled, cut, and colored. Some may go to receive a manicure or pedicure. But for many, it’s a social experience and the public hub for small talk, sipping coffee, and sharing stories. Friends and Company Salon in Mena is more than a place to receive a haircut, the salon is a place to come where people care and love to serve their community.
Candace Thompson, owner of Friends and Company, loves the salon and the people that her and the other stylists have the opportunity to serve. “I just love, love, what I’m doing and this is the only place I would want to be,” Candace says smiling. Before buying the salon in 2008, Candace worked alongside long time stylist and UARM Cosmetology Director Tonya Boydstun. “I learned so much from Tonya. I learned how to run a hair salon, but more than anything I learned how to care about people that came through the door,” explains Candace. When she began working with Tonya, Candace had only been in the business for six months, “Tonya hired me and I knew nothing, I was a Nail Technician, but I told her I didn’t do nails. She said, ‘you’re a nail tech and you don’t do nails?’,” Candace says laughing.
While working alongside Tonya and other stylists that had been styling hair for a while, Candace learned principles that she has carried over to today and has made the salon a popular place for people in the community to have their hair done. “I was taught that everyone that comes through the door receives a greeting. Even if somebody accidentally walked into the wrong place, we want everyone to know they are welcome and we are excited they are here,” says Candace.
For some, the hair salon is a place to come and talk and visit about the things going on in life, but for others, sitting in the chair may be the first opportunity for rest that day. Candace and the other stylists at Friends and Company focus on each person and their individual needs when they come in. “We realize that for some people they want to come and talk the whole time and we will do that. There are some people who have come in and are so worn out from their day and so we welcome them and then allow for them to enjoy the quiet moments,” explains Candace.
The girls at Friends and Company believe that their greatest opportunity each day is to serve the people of Polk County. “I feel that as a nail tech and a stylist that this is what I was put here to do; to serve people with my hands. I think that a salon should be a natural place for service. We want to be a place where people can come and feel loved and have their needs met,” Candace says smiling. When clients walk through the doors, they are greeted with a warm welcome and offered a cup of coffee. “When a client comes in, we want them to know they are the most important person. That is why I love pedicures because I can sit and just listen to our clients and give them the attention they deserve,” remarks Candace. People that come to Friends and Company will notice a calming and peaceful environment with stylists that are energetic about their job. “We love being with our clients and we try to be personable and make sure they know they are welcome here,” Candace says explaining the salon atmosphere.
Serving the community is important to everyone at Friends and Company. One of the ways they have served the community the last couple of years is giving free back to school haircuts for kids. “I have kids and grew up in a family with several kids so I know how expensive back to school can be. By the time you buy school supplies and a couple of new clothes, it can all add up.” The last two years Friends and Company has offered back to school haircuts for kids as a practical way to serve Mena. In the process, they have been able to serve many families and put smiles on children’s faces in the process. “This year we were cutting boys hair and they asked if we could put lines and designs in their hair. We did it and they thought it was the best! Then every boy that came in wanted something similar, it was a lot of fun,” says Candace smiling. Each stylist loves being a part of the community where they serve people because each time they see someone they have served it brings a smile to their face. “Our community gives so much to us and we want to give back to our wonderful community,” says Candace.
Friends and Company is a full service salon offering cuts, colors, perms, styles, and waxing. The salon also offers nail services, including gel and acrylic nails, and pedicures and manicures. Friends and Company is located at 1100 Highway 71 N #F in Mena. Walk ins are welcome, for more information about services provided, call 479-394-0813.