Faces In the Crowd: Ellen McCauley

August 22, 2019

By Aaron Michell

Ellen McCauley’s been helping people look good for over 30 years.
As the owner of Ellen’s Salon in Evart, she spent 31 years running her own salon. The community of Evart became home, and her clients became part of her family.
While she closed her Salon a few years ago, she still does hair. She’s been working for Teasers in Evart, and she just recently began working for Teasers in Marion every Thursday.
A graduate of Chippewa Hills High School, Ellen got her start at the career center as a teen, and has never looked back. She loves cutting hair. She loves the friendships and the conversations that come with it.
But family is everything to Ellen. She moved to Florida briefly in 2018, but after tragically losing her son, Ross, she moved back to be closer to her sons John and Todd, and her grandkids Jonathon, Emma, and Easton. Family is everything to Ellen, and she includes her community as part of the family.
We caught up with Ellen recently at Teasers, where she filled us in on a little bit of her story. We learned that Ellen McCauley is much more than just another face in the crowd.

Ellen McCauley

MP: Where are you from originally?
Ellen: I’m originally from Rodney, I graduated from Chippewa Hills. I came up here when I was 21 and bought the salon and owned the salon for 31 years, Ellen’s Salon. So I had that for 31 years and sold out and moved to Florida.
I was there [in Florida] for a year, and then my youngest son, Ross, passed away, and I moved back.

MP: I’m so sorry. I remember reading about that and it was just shocking.
Ellen: Very. 6’4” 200 pounds, and you would’ve never thought. He came down and surprised me for Mother’s Day three weeks before he died, and we had the greatest week ever, and then three weeks later he was gone. Unreal. Unreal. It’s been tough. He had a [faulty] mitral valve, and it sounds like he played too much sports. That’s what did him in, but he loved sports.

MP: Tell us a little bit about Ellen’s Salon? Being in business for 31 years you’ve probably gotten to know a few people.
Ellen: Pretty much everybody at the old salon was like my family; the family I never had. Raised my boys and everything, it was great. Everybody was awesome. It was located on the corner of 6th street.

MP: What made you move to Florida?
Ellen: Actually Ross came to me – and I haven’t been married in 25 years – and Ross said, “All you do is go to work, and come home; there’s gotta be something better out there, you need to go do something.” And my girlfriend lived in Florida and I was talking to her and she’s like, “Move down here.” And so I told Ross that I was going to Florida, and he said, “I didn’t mean that!”

MP: So Ross was your youngest? Tell us about your family.
Ellen: And I have two older boys, John and Todd. They work at Brooks Trading Post [on U.S. 10]. I told ‘em one time that someone was coming in, and that if they told [the boys] that they knew me, they’d give them a discount. They said: “Mom, if anyone comes in here and says that, the price is going up!” They’re jokers like that. 3 boys, and 3 grandchildren. Family’s all that I’ve got.

MP: What is it that got you interested in cutting hair?
Ellen: My stepmom is a hairdresser, and I had a 4-H leader, and both of them did hair. And I kinda got pushed into it. And at first, I was like, “Oh, I can’t do this, I can’t cut a straight line or anything.” I wasn’t artistic. Anyway, I got to the career center and I did, lo and behold, I could cut a straight line. And it was like, wow, this is pretty interesting. It just got me going from there.

MP: How did you get involved with Teasers?
Ellen: Pam [Custer, owner of Teasers] and I used to go to hair shows. There was a place called Salon Essentials, where we bought our products from, and [the owner would] get trips around for us. Pam and I roomed together in Chicago, and we went to a hair show in Chicago, and I’ve known her ever since then. I’ve known her probably since 1990. I have to give a big shout out to Pam for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve done hair for a long time, but Pam’s taught me a lot about color and stuff. She’s been awesome to me. I’m kicking butt and taking names now; I don’t think I’ve ever done hair better than I do now.

Ellen with her sons Jason, Todd and Ross.

MP: What is your favorite part of the job?
Ellen: Seeing the people. I love the people. Just making people happy. I do work at the funeral home too; I do all the hair at the funeral home. My big thing is to make sure they all look nice – my last thing I can do for them.

MP: Even though you grew up in Rodney, would you consider Evart to be home? What do you enjoy most about this community?
Ellen: Making people happy. Seeing the people. I just like being around people. They’re all like family to me, and I get attached to them a lot. I like hearing about everyone’s family. And the hair goes with it – I like making them look nice.

MP: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Ellen: The one thing I can think of: I was young, and I just started the Salon, and this lady worked at an insurance company and she came in and said, “You know, you’re not going to have any retirement, you need to invest in something.” I think I was 23 years old, and she got me to invest in my retirement, and I’ve paid into it all these years, so I’ll have a nice retirement.
We went to a hair show one time, and they said that you need to save a dollar from every hair cut that you’ve ever done – I can’t imagine the money I’d have if I would’ve done that!

MP: So that’s advice that you didn’t take!
Ellen: Right! Wow, I’d be a millionaire!

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