Many beauty and barber shops served Transylvania over the years, and one such business was Anne’s Beauty Bar (1946-1957). Owned by Mrs. Anne Norton Pearce, Anne’s Beauty Bar provided ladies with haircuts and styling, as well as some merchandise related to beauty, such as when they became a locally exclusive retailer for Artemis brand lingerie and loungewear.
The “ultra-modern, new building” was constructed with the purpose of being a beauty salon in 1946 at the address 26 East Jordan Street (numbering has since been changed). Surprisingly, at least part of the building is still used as a beauty salon, Attitudes Hair & Nail Salon. The building was originally built of brick, though the brick has been mostly covered with a smoother finish and coat of paint.
Anne was born Annie Norton on April 24, 1919 in the Boyd area of Transylvania County to parents Nathan & Edith Norton, alongside her twin sister Louise. She was a good student, frequently making the paper for the honor roll, and later for her high achievements with shorthand and typing. This skill is likely what led to her employment with Ecusta as a “typist,” the profession listed on the 1940 Census. She worked on the Endless Belt team and was on one of the company’s bowling teams, winning a cash prize for her high score at one event.
It can be assumed that Ecusta is where she met her future husband, Robert Strange Pearce Jr. He was employed at Ecusta at the same time as Anne. Robert, who went by Bob, was born in Florida, but his family spent many summers in Transylvania County and had a long-standing relationship with the community here. His father had twice been the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida and had strong connections in that town, but after Bob’s father passed away in 1930 at the early age of 46, the family moved to Brevard permanently. The Pearce family lived at “Florolina,” which was named by the previous owners, the Gault family. It seems to have also been previously known as “Deer Park Home”, which would indicate they lived in the area that is now Straus Park.
After Anne and Bob got married in Greenville, SC on November 24, 1940, they started a family; daughter Juanita was born in 1942, with twin sons Robert III and William following in 1945. It’s hard to imagine how Anne had time to start a new business in 1946 with two infants and a preschooler to caretake, but that’s exactly what she did. She and Bob had the building constructed presumably as an investment, because the Beauty Bar was not the only business to occupy the building; the neighboring Electric Service Company opened its doors the same month as Anne’s Beauty Bar, which held its grand opening on August 30, 1946. Articles of the time note that a new stoplight had to be installed at the intersection, due to it now being a “blind corner.”
Ads mention that prior to opening Anne’s Beauty Bar, Anne had taken over the operation of a long-standing business on called “Quality Beauty Shop” for several months before deciding to move the business to the new brick building and change the name to Anne’s Beauty Bar. This coincides with a January 1946 ad stating that the Quality Beauty Shop was changing owners and management, although the new proprietor was not named, and the potential future move was not mentioned.
At this time, the stylists at beauty shops were known as “operators,” and when Anne’s Beauty Bar opened, they boasted four operators in addition to Anne would provide service to clients, namely Martha Wood (Anne’s sister), Edna Fullbright, Opal McCormick, and Ruth Osborne. Edna had been a part of Quality Beauty Shop and may have already had a client base. Anne’s Beauty Bar was in business with Anne Pearce at the helm until the end of 1957, when she sold it to new owners Edith Bentley and Martha Coman. Anne stayed on as an operator for a short time before transitioning out of the business. The new owners held a contest to rename themselves, and with the January 1958 announcement of the winning shop name, Anne’s Beauty Bar was no more, replaced by THE Beauty Salon.
Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Special thanks to Martha Tinsley for help with photo identification. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.