A Motto Come to Life [UPDATED]

Published 7:34am Thursday, May 10, 2012 Updated 8:07am Thursday, May 10, 2012

The motto on the wall in the beauty shop could belong to Wendy Grabow: “Live life to the fullest and make a difference along the way.”

Wendy is the hairdresser at Good Samaritan nursing home in Battle Lake. Her warm smile and bubbly chatter brighten the days of at least twenty-four women who have their hair done each week in addition to many “walk ins.” She typically sees from thirty to thirty-five people – men and women – during her three-morning week and sometimes up to forty.

Although Wendy loves to talk – she says she comes from a long line of talkers and story tellers – her main focus as she works is drawing others out. She’ll ask about a favorite pie, or the family’s Christmas tradition, or some other memory, and she’s always amazed at the answers. “When I get them talking, they have such interesting stories to tell,” she says.

The Grabow family has a long tradition in law enforcement. Wendy’s sons, Jesse and Jacob are both in law enforcement as is her husband, Jeff, and father-in-law, Arlo. With four grandsons, the family could eventually boast of four generations of troopers. But Wendy says she wouldn’t mind if her grandchildren grew up to be something else. At 5, 4, 3 and 20 months (and another grandchild on the way), there’s plenty of time for that.

Her own family’s roots are farming. Her grandparents, Ed and Sigrid Selvaag, had a farm near Vining. From the farm they moved to Henning and now her grandpa, 102 years old, is a resident at Good Sam. Wendy says she loves that she works at Good Sam where she can visit him often. She takes her grandsons to visit too, but they’re pretty rambunctious. She’s hardly ever without funny pictures of the boys, though, which brings smiles to a lot of faces.

Wendy has been a hairdresser for 35 years. She started in Fergus Falls working in the beauty shop at Norby’s Department Store on Lincoln Avenue. After four years, she decided to open a shop in her home and has done so ever since: first in Vining, then Barnesville, and now on Ethel Lake near Battle Lake where she and her husband moved in 2004.

So Wendy has had plenty of experience designing beauty shops and that experience came in handy recently. Good Sam remodeled its nursing home in 2011 and the renovation included a new beauty shop. To whom did they turn to help design the shop? Wendy, of course. And she’s proud of the way it turned out.

One of her goals was to accommodate a variety of needs. The sink is made for wheelchair access and can be raised and lowered depending upon height of the chair. Similarly, one of the three hairdryers is fully movable and adjustable to accommodate someone sitting in a wheelchair.

Wendy also wanted the place to be cheery and calming. A large window overlooking the courtyard brings in natural light and florescent ceiling light brightens the room still more. Soft music plays in the background. And, of course, there is the talk. Wendy jokes: “People say their time in the beauty shop is therapy.”

In addition to Good Sam, Wendy works in her home beauty shop, gardens, plays in the Glory Dei Bell Choir, teaches Sunday school at Folden Lutheran church, and keeps up with Barnesville – both a homemakers group and the Trojans wrestling team.

Like the motto on the beauty-shop wall, Wendy is one of those people who lives life to the fullest – and makes a difference along the way – a BIG difference.


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