Melissa Hepworth finds joy in small town, small business

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Marking the official opening of the Melissa Raye Hair Studio of Dallas Center were, from left, Jeff Weddle, President of the Dallas Center Betterment Foundation Scott Gustafson, Alex MacConnell, Kandi Soll, Tyler Soll, ribbon-cutting studio owner Melissa Raye, Pete Hepworth, Lindsey Hepworth, Linda Hepworth, Pamela Parlee, Vic Blitz and Jamie Hockstetter. Photo courtesy Dallas County Betterment Association

DALLAS CENTER, Iowa — Melissa Hepworth, owner of the Melissa Raye Hair Studio at 1417 Walnut St., grew up on the south side of Des Moines and then moved six years ago to Woodward, where she discovered the joys of living in small-town Iowa. Now she has discovered the pleasures of being an entrepreneur.

“I began dreaming of owning my own hair salon shortly after I graduated from the Iowa School of Beauty in 2016,” Hepworth said. She honed her professional skills while working in two corporate salons, experiences that only intensified her desire to own her own studio in a small town.

When Hepworth noticed an ad offering to sell Trudy’s Beauty Salon on Dallas Center’s main street, she talked the idea over with her parents, Pete and Linda Hepworth, and they urged her to go for it.

Trudy and Melissa reached an agreement, and the Melissa Raye Hair Studio was opened for business in March. No sooner had she opened, however, than all hair salons were closed by the state March 18 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The governor allowed Hepworth to reopen May 16, and “the business has been growing ever since then,” she said. So Saturday, Oct. 17 seemed like the right time for an official grand opening.

While cutting the hair of Alex MacConnell, a member of the DC Betterment Foundation Board of Directors, Hepworth learned that MacConnell’s son, Logan MacConnell, was a percussionist with the Dallas Center-Grimes High School Jazz Band and that the band was always looking for chances to play outside while the weather was still warm.

The open house was soon scheduled, and the band was booked for Saturday. Hepworth also provided children’s books and a variety of tasty foods for the event.

Joining Hepworth at the event were her friend Jamie Hochstetter and other friends and Dallas Center notables, including Jeff Weddle, Dallas Center Betterment Foundation President Scott Gustafson, Alex MacConnell, Kandi Soll, Tyler Soll, ribbon-cutting studio owner Melissa Raye, Pete Hepworth, Lindsey Hepworth, Linda Hepworth, Pamela Parlee and Vic Blitz.

Dallas Center-Grimes High School Jazz Band players, under the direction of Steve Britt, included Allison Kinman, Cale Schmitz, Coby Insisienmay, Ben Miller, Drew Bissell, Sam Jones, Macy Evans, Logan MacConnell, Anthony Munoz, Katrina Saddoris and Ryan Fitch.

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