Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Beauty shop dog January 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:30 AM
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Main Street in West Concord, photographed several months ago.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW about West Concord? I’m not talking Massachusetts here. I mean West Concord as in a community of 836 in southeastern Minnesota.

Up until this past fall, I had never set foot in this small town. But, while en route to the historic Dodge County seat of Mantorville, my husband and I detoured into West Concord. The fact that we had never been there prompted the stop. It was as simple as that.

Many times when we travel back roads and drive into small towns, we discover sweet surprises. West Concord was no exception. I found Fonzie there.

While my husband was exploring whatever men investigate when they’re getting impatient, I ducked into Colleen’s Salon & Gifts on West Main Street. There I met Fonzie, the beauty shop dog. He was lounging in a chair next to patron Charlotte Lurken, who was drying her hair under one of those old-fashioned bubble dryers.

Instantly, I knew this would be a story. And the photo ops, well, let’s just say I was nearly giddy when I considered the possibilities.

I wasn’t sure, though, how the women would react to my request to photograph them since they were in curlers. But, no problem. I snapped away.

Here are the results:


Fonzie relaxes in the morning sunshine next to beauty shop patron Charlotte Lurken.

Fonzie didn't even blink an eyelash when I moved in for a close-up.

Salon owner Colleen Snaza, framed by a welcome sign in the gift shop, curls a customer's hair.

Pretty sweet, huh?

Fonzie’s been hanging out at the beauty shop for about two years now, ever since owner Colleen Snaza’s husband, John, passed away. Prior to that, the Shih Tzu had spent five years at home with John, who suffered from a heart condition. And before that, the canine stayed home with Colleen for a year while she recovered from breast cancer.

Colleen began taking Fonzie to the beauty shop because she couldn’t leave him alone. He was too used to company.

Now Fonzie’s just part of the beauty shop. “He gets a lot of lovin’,” Colleen says.

And that’s the story I learned when I took the time to check out a small-town beauty shop on Main Street in West Concord.

FYI: An article I wrote about the beauty shop dog just published in the winter issue of Minnesota Moments magazine. Readers often wonder how I find my stories. It’s as simple as going off the beaten path, snooping around, asking questions and finding the simply extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary places of our lives.

WATCH FOR MORE from West Concord in upcoming blog posts.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “Beauty shop dog”

  1. Bernie Says:

    How sweet. I think people need more of these types of stories. Good for Fonzie keeping those ladies company. I think that it must do wonders for him as well.
    I so love your stories. Good for you for getting published in the MN magazine so often. 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I love discovering feel-good stories like this that are just waiting to be shared.

      I am the Southern Minnesota Correspondent for Minnesota Moments, meaning I have lots of stories, and book reviews, in every issue.

  2. Donna Lyon Says:

    You did such a great job on the Beauty shop dog article, I wonder if Colleen Snaza is the Colleen Round that I went to school with in West Concord? I read the article in the Minnesota Moments magazine, before I found it on your blog.
    I just have to comment on the Main street picture. The church building to the left and back is the Methodist Church. The water tower is where an area was flooded each winter so that we could ice skate. We walked from the school, I think only 2 blocks away. What is now the bowling alley was the NEW Wescon theater, opened around 1948 ? When we lived in W.C. my brother Gary and sister Barbara and myself had paper routes. Morning, evening and Sunday. We were known as “The Carrying Campbells.” We bought our bikes from Al Renner’s Hardware store, paid $1.00 a week. My grandmother still lives in West Concord, she will be 105 on January 27th. I could go on and on about my Minnesota memories, but will stop for now.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Donna, thanks for sharing your memories of growing up in West Concord. It’s always interesting to hear about small towns. I’ll post more photos from your hometown soon, I hope.

  3. Jeff Says:


    Thank you for visiting our community! I love what I have read and look forward to reading more! Mayor Jeffrey E. McCool, City of West Concord

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That visit was awhile ago, but we surely enjoyed your little community. Loved that beauty shop dog. And the caramel rolla at Omar’s Cafe–to die for. I’ve heard very good reviews of their Sunday brunch. We want to try that sometime plus attend one of your summer car shows.

      Be sure to type “West Concord” into my blog search engine because photos from your town are included in other posts I’ve published.

      Thanks for stopping by Minnesota Prairie Roots.

  4. Jackie Says:

    My mom grew up in the country near West Concord, I love to go visit the old farm that us kids grew up going to visit Grandma. Mom graduated from West Concord High school in 1954. The high school is no longer a school.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Jackie, thanks for stopping by with your comment. I also checked out your blog and enjoyed it. I’ll be back. I also need to return to West Concord for the weekly car cruise and to eat at Omar’s Cafe.

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