Founded with love

Sunday, February 3, 2008 | 3:27 p.m. CST; updated 6:19 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Ihsan and Gulden Yasar have been working together at Shearlocks for 26 years. "I apprenticed for five years in Istanbul when I was a teenager. That's how I learned the tips and tricks from professionals. Here, in the United States, it's different," Ihsan Yasar said. "You learn in a classroom setting with lots of students and there's less emphasis on individualized education."

COLUMBIA — Ihsan Yasar and his wife, Gulden, have been running Shearlocks hair salon in Columbia for more than 25 years. They have two daughters, Asli and Bahar, who are MU graduates. Ihsan, a native of Turkey, came to America as a “green card” holder in 1974. He established his own business in 1976. Back then he was single.

During Ihsan’s visit to Turkey in 1978, his brother wanted to introduce Ihsan to a young girl in the neighborhood who his brother thought was quite pretty. They went to the shoe store where she worked, and his brother asked, “So, what do you think?”


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Ihsan frowned. “Nah, she’s OK. I’m not interested.”

That night, Ihsan needed to make a phone call to the United States. His brother didn’t have a phone line, so Ihsan’s sister-in-law suggested that Ihsan ask a neighbor. Ihsan’s sister-in-law took him to Gulden’s family’s apartment. Back then, you had to register for a phone call through an operator, waiting sometimes up to an hour for the connection to be established. It was especially tough to make international calls.

That night, Gulden and Ihsan had plenty of time to drink Turkish coffee and chat about America and Turkey. On the way back home, Ihsan told his sister-in-law, “This is the girl I would want to marry. Otherwise, I will never get married.”

His sister-in-law was confused because she knew what Ihsan had told her husband at the shoe store.

“I thought you didn’t like her,” his sister-in-law said. “This is the girl at the shoe store.”

“No, she’s not!” Ihsan exclaimed. “She can’t be the same girl.”

The girl Ihsan fell in love with was the very same girl he had seen earlier at the shoe store.

“At work, I was dressed nicely and had makeup,” Gulden said while working on a customer’s nails. “Then I came home and took a shower and put on daily clothes. I should have realized something was wrong with him.”

Everyone in the salon laughed.

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