Article and Photos by Paula Redmann

Maureen Wanner has been making people feel beautiful for 27 years.

She entered the world of hair and skin in 1991, fresh out of a Bismarck beauty college. All paths crisscrossed to where she is today, to Homestead Salon and Spa—her salon and spa—inside of Edgewood in Mandan, home to assisted living and memory care residents.

“It’s so interesting. All the people I’ve met along the way have all lead me to this point. My salon is my mission field. Things happen for a reason, don’t you think?” asks Maureen.

Her years of providing skin care expertise for plastic surgeons and dermatologists, combined with years of owning her own salons in Beulah, Dickinson, New Rockford, and Bismarck, weave into raising three children with her husband, Sherwin, in Mandan. Add in years of evenings working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, the next acquaintance, the next connection, all leading her to Edgewood, and her next client, waiting for her weekly shampoo and set.

“Miss Dorothy sees me every week. It’s a treat from her daughter, and I get her all decked out for her husband,” says Maureen.

Miss Dorothy is Dorothy Ward. She and her husband, Milan, live at Edgewood. Dorothy says Maureen does a good job.

“She gives me a good scrubbin’,” says Dorothy, “And it feels delicious.”

Maureen gently helps Dorothy lie back onto the sink, as if she’s releasing a sleeping infant. After a relaxing shampoo, Maureen applies a product called “Black Rage,” to Dorothy’s hair, which Maureen says is “a little color without the color.” The name of the product doesn’t match Maureen’s demeanor or Miss Dorothy’s grace. Follow that with a little gel, a rainbow of curlers, and Dorothy goes under the dryer for a little nap.

“This is her spa time,” says Maureen. “These people are just the best. They’re leaders in technology, skills, and mothering. And they’re so full of history. I love hearing about their travels, crops, families, and faith.”  

While Miss Dorothy rests, Maureen grabs the tub of curlers and moves to her next client, Miss Laverne.

“Look at her hair!” exclaims Maureen. “What most of us wouldn’t give for this thickness and these curls?”

Miss Laverne is Laverne Parkin. Maureen knows of Laverne’s first marriage of 51 years and her second marriage of 18 years.

“Both good men,” says Laverne. “My second husband and I spent every day together, fishing and hunting and then going dancing on Saturday nights. We had a real good time.”

“I get great advice every day,” says Maureen. “I get marriage advice and parenting tips. They tell me what to spend money on and how they saved money.”

Miss Laverne pipes in with, “I saved money by not going to the casino this week!”

Maureen knows her customers. She knows how many children they have. She knows what their grandchildren do. She knows all about their special occasions and comes in to do their hair and make them feel beautiful. She knows the weekly—and popular—shampoos and sets. She knows haircuts are every six weeks and perms are every 12.  

Although a majority of her clients are women, Maureen also takes care of men.

“I schedule a ‘Men’s Day’ and just do guy haircuts that day. I introduced them to something special, something they never experienced from years of going to a barber; the treat of having someone wash their hair.”

Maureen hums along with her customers when they sing, appreciates the prayers they offer her, right from their chair, “and when they move their toes in the chair, well, we call that dancing.”

Years of standing have had an impact on Maureen’s health. She has some back issues, and knows she needs to rest more, slow down, relax and do some stretching.

“I’m working on that. My youngest son will ask me, ‘Mom, are you relaxed?’”

Maureen turned 50 recently and celebrated the only way she knew how; by throwing a party at Edgewood and inviting all the residents.

“My sister and I love to bake, so we had all kinds of goodies, ice cream, and balloons. It was so much fun. That’s why I put cupcake ornaments on my Christmas tree, turned Easter tree, turned birthday tree!”

Looking back on her career, Maureen says she feels more successful today than at any previous point in her profession.

“I love this generation. I love doing something to help them maintain their beauty and their wellness. I truly believe that beauty began with this generation. They are an inspiration to me.”   

Paula Redmann is the Community Rela- tions Manager for Bismarck Parks and Recreation District. She married her high school sweetheart, Tom. They have two grown sons, Alex and Max.