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50 years in business

Anyone who has seen the 1989 comedy-drama “Steel Magnolias” will recognize and understand the close bonds of friendship that can be forged in a salon chair. This is exactly the atmosphere and tight-knit community you will find at Jolane Khalil Beauty Salon.

The salon, located in the basement of Khalil’s Catasauqua home on Faith Drive, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Actually, there was some contention among those present at the April 27 appointments about if this is 50 or 52 years. Regardless of the specifics, it is still a feat to celebrate.

Much like the “Steel Magnolias” crew, Khalil’s clients have been loyal customers for decades and have become as close as family. For example, Doris Graberitz, of South Whitehall Township, has been a client for more than 30 years. Khalil noted her oldest client is 97 years old and makes sure to come regularly for services.

“This is my fun of the week,” Sylvia Ross, of North Whitehall Township, said.

They noted enjoying the social aspect of their weekly appointments, which was evident in the relaxed and joking nature of their interactions.

In addition to her weekly clients, Khalil also has a number of clients who come less regularly. Khalil also works performing hair services at Phoebe Home and Good Shepherd. Since she is also working at Phoebe Home and Good Shepherd during the week, she mainly see clients Mondays and Saturdays in the home salon.

“Being with people is my medicine,” Khalil said.

She reminisced about a time when she had open-heart surgery and felt the need to get back to working with people right away.

She also noted how much she enjoys decorating those other locations for holidays and different seasons. The home salon is also always decked out in fun and festive decor, creating a warm and comforting atmosphere.

Khalil had worked at a salon in Allentown before opening her own salon in the basement of her Catasauqua home. She said the plan was always to get married and look for a home that could also house a salon. Catasauqua provided her that opportunity.

“Catasauqua is a really nice town,” she said.

Khalil noted her father used to live in the borough, so it was nice for her to settle there.

Since she already had a number of loyal customers who followed her to the new salon, Khalil’s business was off to a good start. She said she never needed to advertise or market her business. She maintained and grew a healthy client base solely off word of mouth.

Marge Banko, of Catasauqua, was one of the clients who first came to the salon following a word-of-mouth recommendation. Now she reports she has been going to the salon for “forever and a day.”

Khalil said, in the past, they have celebrated milestone anniversaries with picnics and parties, sometimes at North Catasauqua William J. Albert Memorial Park, 701 Grove St. These gatherings were akin to family reunions since they have all been together for so many years.

During the appointments April 27, clients joked that Khalil’s daughter Lorie used to sit on their laps while they were getting their hair done. Now a grown adult, Lorie Khalil said she is proud of her mother and her business’ longevity. She also expressed gratitude for her mother’s loyal clients.

“My mom is my hero, my strength, my inspiration,” Lorie Khalil said. “I’m so proud of her.”

“I’m still standing,” Khalil said, noting she is proud to have run such a good business for more than 50 years and has no plans of throwing in the towel anytime soon.

Lorie Khalil, Sylvia Ross, Doris Graberitz, Marge Banko and Jolane Khalil celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jolane Khalil Beauty Salon, located on Faith Drive in Catasauqua, during the April 27 appointments. The group of women shared the bonds they've had throughout the decades.
PRESS PHOTOS BY SAMANTHA ANDERSON Jolane Khalil rinses Ross' hair during her Saturday morning salon appointment.
Marge Banko, of Catasauqua, says she has been coming to Jolane Khalil Beauty Salon for “forever and a day.” A celebration of 50 years in business was held at the Faith Drive, Catasauqua, salon, April 27.
Sylvia Ross relaxes with a magazine while her hair dries.
PRESS PHOTOS BY SAMANTHA ANDERSON The salon still uses its original signage on the front lawn.