When Betty Cabral and her husband Joe opened The Hair Place, they were the 2nd tenant in the Post Road strip mall after the anchor: Grand Union.
Their lease with owner Paul Kowalsky was sealed with a handshake.
Grand Union became Shaw’s. Now it’s Fresh Market. Dozens of other merchants came and left.
The Hair Place stayed.
On July 31, Betty will close her long-running salon. The rent is going up — way up. There are new common charges, for the parking lot.
Financially, it’s just not worth it.
Betty Cabral and her brother, Carlo Palmer. He helped install the paneling — 44 years ago — with Betty’s husband Joe.
Betty is a native Westporter. She and her brother, Carlo Palmer, grew up on Richmondville Avenue. She attended Bedford Elementary School (now Town Hall), Bedford Junior High (now King’s Highway Elementary) and — in 1955 — Staples (now Saugatuck El).
Like her brother Carlo — an industrial arts instructor at Staples, and other towns — Betty became a teacher (business education, at Stamford’s Rippowam High). She left when her children were born, then returned to work at Katharine Gibbs.
Her husband Joe was a 5th grade teacher in Stamford, but the Cabrals wanted to invest in a franchise. McDonald’s was too expensive, so they chose The Hair Place.
They opened in 1969, hiring a manager to run things. But they soon realized they had to be there themselves.
When Joe died of pancreatic cancer, Betty took over. She prided herself on serving entire families — men, women and children. She’s now on her 3rd generation of customers.
“This is my home and my family,” she says with pride.
But it’s a home she’ll soon leave, after 44 years.
She is not sure what she’ll do next, but it will be something. “I can’t do nothing!” she says.
She extends a hearty “thank you!” to all her loyal customers, and many staff members.
“I’ve made so many good friends here,” Betty says. “I’ve had so many good experiences. It’s been wonderful.”
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