Judy’s Hair Fashions has seen its last client. The walls of the 147 N. First Ave., Oakdale location hold more than six decades of stories – 65 years to be precise.
It is under the leadership and ownership of Judy Furtado, however, that the building has served as home for the longest duration of time. Earlier this month, following 42 years of service as the sole proprietor, Furtado closed the salon door one final time.
“It’s bittersweet,” she admitted of closing the shop.
The six months preceding its closing, however, Furtado shared she was there very little as she cared for and then recovered from the passing of her husband Manuel Furtado. He lost his battle with cancer in late November of last year.
The couple resided in Escalon for the majority of their married life, staking claim to a 10-acre almond ranch and later growing it to 20 acres, which the family still maintains. Both worked in Oakdale, Judy at her hair salon and Manuel at the Hershey’s plant for 30 years.
She first bought the shop in 1976 at the age of 23.
“It was very complicated in those days,” Furtado shared. “You didn’t just open a salon, you bought a business. Today there’s a shop on every corner.
“I worked at Beauty Lane and we had just bought our ranch in Escalon,” she continued. “Gladys Lemmons was our Realtor and did our taxes and she said ‘Judy I have just the beauty shop’ for you to buy.”
The salon owner recalls purchasing the business for approximately $5,000, which she borrowed from her grandmother and repaid that same year. Forty-two years after first acquiring the business, stepping into the space one couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. Much of the space still contained original pieces, from vintage chairs, counter space to hair drying stations.
“I do a lot of shampoo sets, with a few hair blow dries in between,” Furtado said, “but there’s a lot of shampoo sets. I have one (client) who has been here for 42 years; she’s never been anywhere else.”
While Furtado made the decision to close the doors of the North First Avenue location, she has not retired completely. She plans to maintain a two day a week schedule at a salon recently opened by one of her stylists just one block east of her shop’s location.
As Furtado reflected about her years spent in the business, she addressed how much has changed in terms of the business as well as work ethic, noting the use of the smart phone as a tool which allows stylists a flexibility she was not privy to in her day.
There are many things that contribute to a successful run of 42 years in the business. For Furtado it is apparent that her passion for her customers, her staff and the family environment was what drove the success of Judy’s Hair Fashions.
“You get up and you go to work and you enjoy it,” she said of the trade which brought her friendships, as well as many fond memories. “Our oldest customer who’s come in here was Mrs. Butterfield. She was 106 before she stopped coming. I have like 14 ladies over 90 (years old) that still come here. Lots of little ones that I’ve watched grow up.”
Now with retirement on the horizon, Furtado looks forward to doing things that she loves, such as cooking, traveling and spending more time with family.
“Time goes by so fast,” she said. “Somehow your whole priorities change after you go through what I have this past year.”
Furtado is looking ahead with anticipation, behind with gratitude.
“I thank them all for all of the years we spent here,” she stated of her clientele. “It was a lot of fun.”