BENNINGTON -- Mary Coulter has been washing, cutting, and styling hair for 41 years. About 10 years ago, Coulter completed a Licensed Nurse's Assistant program and discovered her passion for healing and helping those who are sick or otherwise bedridden.
It was during her time as a LNA that she realized there were a number of patients who could benefit from a "traveling" hair salon, as many were either immobile or had a difficult time getting out of the house.
With this realization, Coulter decided to start her very own traveling hair salon, and thus, her business, Hairs to You, was born in 1990.
Since that time, Coulter has made it her life's work to help others look and feel beautiful.
Coulter believes that boosting a person's self-confidence is an integral part of any healing process. She explained that through her years of working, both in a medical setting and otherwise, she has come to the conclusion that medication is only part of the healing process.
"I truly believe that when people look good, they in turn feel good," said Coulter. "It makes me feel good when they feel good."
Coulter logs an average of about 25 appointments per week, driving to the homes of the elderly, the ill, and, she notes, even those who simply don't like to frequent hair salons, giving them the full salon experience, right in the comfort of their kitchen, living room or bathroom. She even brings along a hose attachment for clients who may not already have one.
"Some people just feel most comfortable in their own homes," says Coulter. "There's nothing wrong with that. I will help anyone who asks."
Coulter also visits the beauty salon at Bennington's Fillmore Pond Assisted Living Center, as well as Bennington Project Independence twice a week, washing, cutting, coloring and styling the hair of grateful residents and guests.
Coulter says family members can rest assured that their loved-ones will not only be beautified during her visits, but in safe hands as well.
"One of the benefits of having completed the LNA course," says Coulter, "is that I've had all the training needed to help people move around safely in their homes."
Coulter went on to explain that if a client were to fall, need help getting out of bed, or perhaps use the bathroom, she would be able to assist them in the proper manner.
It couldn't be more clear that Coulter loves every aspect of cosmetology. However, her love of helping others in general is even more evident.
"It's so fulfilling to make someone who's sick or feeling down feel better, feel beautiful," said Coulter. "It's just wonderful. It doesn't feel like work."
She goes on to recall a time when she cleaned out a client's refrigerator, "just because" while the client's perm was processing.
"Any little thing that helps," said Coulter. "No, it's not my job, but it makes their day a little easier."
Coulter's services range from $20-$60, "But," she says, "Prices are always negotiable." Coulter says that she's even completed services free of charge for those who find it financially impossible to pay normal rates.
"I'm not in this for the money," said Coulter. "Honestly, it's about making people feel good."
Coulter notes that, in the case of the elderly, "some people just don't know how to go about doing things to make themselves feel better." She hopes that as more and more people learn about her business and the services she offers, that she will help even more people in Bennington and its surrounding areas feel beautiful, one hair cut at a time.
To inquire about Coulter's services or to schedule an appointment, contact her directly at (802) 430-4570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Elizabeth Conkey at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.