FORT WORTH -- Ronda Phillips knows exactly where she was on Aug. 16, 1977, the day Elvis died.
It was the first day on her first job as an 18-year-old hairstylist on opening day for One Hair Place, a small unisex salon at 3117 McCart Ave. near Berry Street, just down the road from Texas Christian University.
Elvis may have left the building but Phillips, now 53, hasn't budged -- until today.
The small salon, where she's worked for nearly 35 years, is having to move because the strip center where it's located is going to be replaced with an apartment complex.
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Phillips bought the shop when she was just 23, with $5,000 down. The former owner carried the note. She rechristened the salon Custom Cuts Hair Design, but other than hairstyles, little else has changed over the decades.
The original 1970s-era plastic stylist chairs and the hooded dryers are still in use, and smiling silver-maned ladies file in on Fridays for their standing appointments.
"It's a therapy center for everything," quips 73-year-old Booty Jones, a longtime customer. "I look so gorgeous when Ronda does my hair that I have to come back. And they listen to me talk."
Phillips' daughter Breck's life is embedded in the family salon, where clients range from grandmothers to TCU students, faculty members and coaches, including head football coach Gary Patterson and defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas.
But it's not just the neighborhood crowd. Customers come from as far away as Corsicana, said Breck Phillips, 25.
"We have TCU grads coming back from Dallas. We'll have entire wedding parties come in on a Saturday to get glammed up," she said, noting that her grandmother Ann Freedman worked as a manicurist at the salon for 25 years.
"This isn't an uppity place -- it's like coming home to work," she said.
Breck ("only a hairstylist would come up with that name") snoozed under the front desk when she was a toddler and then served as "go-fer" in her teens. She tried college for one semester before giving in to her DNA -- she went to cosmetology school and joined her mom in a seemingly timeless circle.
Ronda, who says half of being a good stylist is being good with people, has gone from styling a young student's hair to watching her daughter trim the student's kid's locks.
But time hasn't stood still around the booming TCU area. The simple strip center where Ronda has been rooted will be replaced with another of the multistory apartment buildings that seem to be sprouting like mushrooms.
Breck and barber Sara Hosteeka, a 15-year fixture at the salon, will be snipping away until 1 p.m. today even as Ronda ramrods a family moving crew that includes her husband, her stepfather and Breck's boyfriend. They'll be hustling to get things squared away at the new location just a mile away at 3513 W. Biddison St. in the Westcliff Shopping Center.
"It was tough to find a place near TCU. It's a huge hassle to move after 35 years. And it's expensive," Ronda said as she styled Malise Maness' hair. "But the new place isn't far away and it's a good spot. I think we might get more walk-ins."
The familiar routine will resume in a new location Monday. "Same time, but not the same place," Maness said when her do was done.
"I've been coming here since my hair was brown, when I didn't walk with a limp and I could still hear," Maness said. "But one thing hasn't changed: My hair has always looked nice."
Steve Campbell, 817-390-7981