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The art of a good hairdo

Gail McDougall sits in her newly remodeled space in the Northshore Plaza, right along Highway 10.

She's got hair color in her hands and new dreams in her heart.

That's because after 33 years of doing hair and starting up salons for other companies, she's finally nestled into her own place, calling the shots for herself.

"My place is called Artistry Hair Studio and Spa," she says, adding that she truly believes that hair stylists don't just "do hair," but they're artists.

The new business just popped up on Groundhog Day.

"People tease me, saying that's when we came out of our hole," she said with a laugh.

Artistry Hair Studio and Spa, located next to Video Action in the North Shore Travel Plaza, will offer color, cut, texture (perms), updo's, wedding do's -- every aspect of hair.

They'll also offer organic makeup and application, skin care, waxing, massage and manicures/pedicures.

But there are some things they won't offer.

"We will not have tanning beds, tattoos or anything that's bad for you," said McDougall. "We really want to stay as natural as possible."

That's because the 50-some-year-old business owner has seen how much damage some of the "shadier" aspects of beauty enhancement can do to a person's skin and body.

"Being in this business for 33 years, I see such a need for this now," she said, talking about some of the more natural ways of looking your best.

But McDougall says her experience really started far before those 33 years, as she remembers doing hair when she was only 7 years old.

"I've always known this is what I wanted to do -- always," she says. "There's just something about making people feel good about themselves."

After the South Dakota native graduated from Stewarts School of Hair Design in Sioux Falls, she had the privilege of first working for hairdressers in Detroit Lakes, then becoming an area supervisor for Regis Hair Corporation, traveling the world for training and working in 17 different salons.

She says while she doesn't regret a moment of that, she's looking forward to being able to stay in one spot -- her own spot.

"I'm excited to be able to hang my own coat in my own closet," she said. "Sometimes I regret not doing it when I was younger, but there's no time like the present, right?"

Although the space was previously a hair salon, McDougall had it completely remodeled to fit her personality.

"I was so tired of beige for all these spas," she said, as she talked about the vibrant splashes of color on her walls. "So, now we've got some glass tile and modern colors -- something chipper and fun. I wanted this to be a place that when people came to work they didn't get a stomach ache," she said with a giggle.

Currently, as McDougall remains in her "soft opening," there are 12 employees at Artistry Hair Studio and Spa, six of which are beauticians contracted under her.

But once summer hits and the business sees its official grand opening, McDougall expects to hire even more.

To make an appointment or for more information, call 847-1934 or log onto