After 50 years, Deanie K’s Hair Salon closed up shop earlier this month due. Pictured Rev. Gustave and Deanie Victor
By KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — On the surface, it may be hard to understand how a degree from a Bible college and a license to practice cosmetology might complement each other. But Deanie K. Victor made it work, combining her two passions to serve her clients. Now, after 50 years, she has decided to retire.
Deanie and her husband, Gustave Victor, moved to St. Pete in the early 1970s, and at first, they ran a grocery store and sandwich shop.
“We were very ambitious,” she said. “When we had the opportunity to open the sandwich shop, we did. My husband wanted to open up a place that reminded him of the sandwich shops back in Boston.”
As the entrepreneurs worked their business, he was also working as a minister for the Church of God, where Mrs. Deanie would volunteer as a Sunday School teacher and help out with church administrative duties.
While Mrs. Deanie, who is also a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, loved her work at the church and the store, she found herself also wanting to honor her other passion – doing hair. So the couple used part of the area where their store and sandwich shop stood to open a hair salon.
The business was profitable, and she soon had a steady clientele. When the building she and her husband rented was sold, they moved the salon in 1974 to the building on Martin Luther King, Jr. Street South, where she remained until closing up shop a few weeks ago.
Mrs. Deanie said she loved serving her clients for 50 years, providing a listening ear when needed, and sharing the scriptures and words of encouragement that she said God placed on her heart.
She said her clients were more than just customers, and she was honored to be able to serve.
“My customers are like friends and family,” she said. “We just had a beautiful relationship. I felt like I provided a service and ministry. Every day was a good opportunity to have a good relationship with people and to give them a message of strength.”
The 79-year-old said she would really miss her clients and had hoped to only semi-retire, possibly taking on a few clients in her home. However, after her 84-year-old husband took ill, she knew she had to make him her focus.
“He has to be my primary concern,” said Mrs. Deanie. “I need to concentrate on him getting better.”
Before her retirement, she and her husband spent four days a week at the shop, with her husband answering the phones and helping her with bookkeeping.
Mrs. Deanie said closing down was hard, even though she knew it was the right thing to do, and she is grateful to all of her customers, some of whom have been with her almost since the beginning.
“I just want to thank them for the opportunity of giving service to the community,” Mrs. Deanie stated. “Each one of my customers has been special. Each one had their own story to tell. I was glad to listen to and encourage them. The ministry God allowed me to have was a wonderful combination: provide a service, share the scriptures, give hope and peace, which we need today.”