Colling hangs up shears after 42 years

Thursday, December 17, 2020
Karen Colling stands next to her product wall and signage of the name of her business, The Assembly Line.
(Photo by Megan Sabin)

After 42 years in the hair styling business, Karen Colling plans to hang up her shears on Thursday, December 24, 2020.

Colling owns The Assembly Line Salon, located at 123 S. Washington St., which she opened for the first time back in January 1989.

Current services the salon has offered over the years include cutting, styling, perming, coloring, highlighting, and waxing. In the past, the salon has also offered nail services, pedicures, and tanning.

Karen stands next to a pair of shears in her salon. The shears are a trademark of hers.
(Photo by Megan Sabin)

Besides Colling, The Assembly Line has another stylist who works part-time. Colling stated, “I have always had another stylist in the salon. Currently, Kellie Collins works part-time.”

With Colling's retirement, the building the salon is located in is currently for sale, “The salon is currently for sale as well as all the furnishings. I would love to sell it as a salon, but am open to anything.” stated Colling.

Colling has always known hairstyling was what she wanted to do. She explained, “I guess you could say this was my path in life as I cut my own hair in Kindergarten. I grew up fixing my grandmother's hair on a weekly basis and after high school decided this was indeed my dream career. I attended Stuarts School of Hairstyling in Sioux City, and then worked at several salons in the city.”

After a career in Sioux City, Colling wanted to find something closer to home and started The Assembly Line, “When my son, Brett, went to Kindergarten, I decided I wanted to look for something closer to home and found this building to transform.”

When asked why now was the time to retire, Colling explained how 2020 has been for her, “This past February, I fractured my wrist, which required surgery and weeks off work. As I was about to return to work, the COVID-19 crisis hit, so I was forced to close the doors for several months. When I returned to work after all that time away, I was hit with COVID-19 myself, which turned into covid pneumonia, so I was off work another six weeks. During that time, my husband and I started discussing what my path for the future might be. Steve retired last year and we decided this might be a good time to hang up my shears. I would never say COVID-19 ‘forced me out’, but it definitely lets you put your life in focus.”

With retirement in sight, Colling described what she is looking forward to having more time for, “Priorities now include spending more time with family and friends and doing some home projects. Summer is my favorite time, so golfing with Steve and Brett, swimming and sunning with friends and taking care of my flowers and yard are top on the list. Traveling is also a top priority. Recently retiring from a 20+ year position as a National Educator for Aquage has allowed me to travel all over the U.S., which has led to finding some great locations I hope to enjoy traveling back to with Steve.”

Colling has loved her job and 42 year career in this business. She stated, “I've often said, ‘When you’re doing something you love, it's like you never work a day of your life,’ and this is very true. I have always loved my job as a hairdresser. You always have the chance to change someone's day by making them look their best and feel good about themselves.”

She will miss the relationships with her clients that she's built over the years the most after retirement, “I've been blessed over the years to have some of the best clients, many who have been weekly clients from the beginning. Those relationships will always be cherished.”

Colling wishes to thank her many clients, “After 42 years, yes, 42 years in this business, I can't thank everyone enough for their loyalty and friendship. I'll miss the conversations and laughs. I'm forever grateful to be blessed with such a great career and so many wonderful opportunities.”