Clients find Nugget hairdresser’s a family place
Laura Fitz has been running a barber and beauty shop below the Carson Nugget for 17 years. While the river of cars flows past on Carson Street, another round of customers walks into her downstairs business, The Custom Razor.
“You want a perm, Mohawk or what?” she asks shop regular Richard Lusky of Dayton. He came in with his wife, Cheryl.
“Yeah, I want a purple perm,” he said, laughing.
Fitz, a cosmetologist, and her barber, Gene Dominico, have so many regular customers they don’t even advertise.
“We’re well established” Fitz said, “so we don’t need to.”
While snipping away, she chats casually with customers in a corner labeled “Laura.” While a news show on TV describes the new “tallest building in the world” in Tapei, Nugget pit boss Sue Carsten wanders in to read the paper.
“I already checked in there,” says Fitz. “None of us are in the obituaries. I check every morning to make sure Gene is OK.”
Dominico, 74, laughs out loud from his corner.
Fitz finished a two-year cosmetology course at the Hager Beauty Academy in Lexington, Ky., in the early 1960s. She came to Nevada to help her sister, Wanda, with her third baby. Wanda lived in government housing in Babbit outside of Hawthorne while her husband was stationed at Pickel Meadow with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Wanda went back to Kentucky, but Laura, whose slight Southern accent remains, stayed.
She met her first husband, David Culvertson of Culvertson Motor Sports, in Hawthorne. In 1963, she gave birth to her first set of twins: Dana and Dane. The second set, Jacque and Jon, were born in 1969.
“I think God was mad at me,” she said, explaining two sets of twins.
Her first marriage didn’t last, and she and the twins moved to Carson. She wasn’t alone for long -thanks to a lucky night at Carson Lanes bowling alley where she met Robert Fitz from a longtime Fallon family.
“Our eyes locked, and there we were,” she remembered. They have been married for 25 years.
After cutting hair at the Ormsby House in the 1970s for a few years, Fitz moved to The Custom Razor. After two barbers left, she bought it from Joe Wolf in 1986.
She loves the regularity of the scene at the shop.”We’re all like family here because we’ve been here so long,” she said.
At his shoe-shine stand just outside the barbershop, Ed Abowd – uncle of Charlie Abowd, who runs Adele’s Restaurant up the street – is part of the “family.”
“If we don’t get here on time in the morning, Ed – who turned 83 last week – will let our customers in and get them a cup of coffee while they wait,” Fitz said. She has a sign reading “shoes shined while U wait.”
She maintains the mural on the wall outside directing young people to the arcade.
“I change it up every once in a while to add new characters. Most barbers and hair dressers are artists – it’s kind of an art form.”
She doesn’t have to work, she said; she needs to. “I could quit anytime I want,” she said. “But I love the people. The Nugget’s always been a real family place so we fit in real good here.”