Hair history

Salons operated by Bunker were downtown fixtures

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Peggy Bunker, former owner of The Hair Receiver and Peggy's Plaza Salon, proudly holds a drawing of the house where The Hair Receiver was located. On the table is her original 1966 license and collection of photographs from the salon. Bunker sold the salon in January to retire.

Peggy Bunker, the former owner of Peggy’s Plaza Salon and The Hair Receiver Salon, has a neatly filled binder with pictures of the many stylists she worked with, grand opening ribbon cuttings and something a lot less colorful, but very interesting.

The floor plan for a remodeling of Peggy’s, which was located in the Arcade Level of the Warden Plaza, dated 1982.

She purchased the salon from Ann Wagner in 1979.

Her salon was the source of the famous round staircase still in the remains of the building. It led to an upstairs storage room.

“We found the stairs in the basement,” Bunker said.

-Submitted photo
Peggy Bunker, then owner of Peggy's Plaza Salon, poses on the famous spiral staircase she added in 1982 during a remodel. It's still inside the Warden Plaza. The stairs led to an upstairs storage area.

Bunker has another memory of her many years in the business. This one, framed. is a pen line-drawing of her second salon, The Hair Receiver Salon located in the 1200 block of Second Avenue South.

“My husband Bill got me that,” she said while proudly holding the art work. “It’s one of my most precious possessions.”

Bunker got her start in 1966 when she graduated from Bernel Hairstyling College and got her cosmetology license. She still has the original document in a displayed frame. After graduation, the school’s then manager, Bonnie Hammer, hired her to come back and teach. During the 1970s, Bunker worked for various salons in the Fort Dodge area. In 1979 she took the plunge and became a business owner.

Her second salon, Hair Receiver Salon, is named after an antique item that she’s collected.

“When people ask about the name of the salon,” Bunker said. “I tell them about a day I was in an antique shop with my friend Kathy Dressen. Our eyes dropped on what looked like an antique dresser set.”

-Submitted photo
Peggy Bunker kept her extensive collection of antique hair receivers on display during the time she owned The Hair Receiver Salon in Fort Dodge. The lidded bowls were used by women in the past to collect their hair to make hair pieces. The salon was named after the dresser top accessory.

One of those was a container with a hole in the center of the lid.

“The clerk told us it was a hair receiver that women saved their hair in to make hair pieces,” Bunker said. “We both said it would be a neat name for a salon.”

Her collection of hair receivers was displayed in the front room of the salon.

The house the Hair Receiver was in was built in 1890. She purchased it from a Dr. Musselman. His office occupied the first floor, the upstairs was an apartment.

“During the remodeling the windows were all replaced except for the front window which had the original stained glass in it,” she said. “When possible, we tried to preserve the ageless beauty of the home.”

The apartment became a space for several tanning beds and a break room for her stylists.

In January, Bunker put her scissors on the shelf for one last time, selling the business to Abbie Laufersweiler, her husband, Luke, as well as Mark and Susan Laufersweiler.

Abbie Laufersweiler had worked at the salon as a stylist since 2008.

“Bill and Peggy were kind enough to consider her as a possible next owner of the salon,” Luke Laufersweiler said. “They will carry on the tradition of excellence and service in the salon that began years ago with Peggy and Bill Bunker.”

Bunker looks back on all the years with not only a smile on her face, but gratitude as well.

“I want to thank everyone who worked at our salons over the years, also our loyal customers who followed us over the years and kept us going,” Bunker said. “You made a dream become a reality.”


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