Samantha Burcham and Jenny Ebelhar have gone through the last 20 years of their lives together. From doing hair and nails to seeing each other through marriage and the raising of their children. Now, the two are walking through a different journey as Ebelhar battles illness and Burcham prepares to take over ownership of The Red Door Salon & Boutique.
Both majoring in cosmetology, Burcham said the two began their journey more than 19 years ago.
“We worked at a nail salon together when we were younger,” Burcham said. “She did nails and I did hair.”
Ever the entrepreneur, Ebelhar opened Shear Perfection on Frederica Street and Burcham went with her. The salon soon outgrew the area, so Ebelhar purchased Profiles Salon on 18th Street, maintaining the name Shear Perfection. Eventually, the upstairs was converted to a boutique, and the downstairs maintained as a hair and nail salon.
“We spent two hours on the phone one night coming up with the name The Red Door,” Burcham said. “We transitioned the name, but none of the people changed. They [the salon and boutique] complement each other well.”
Although Ebelhar was the primary owner of The Red Door Salon & Boutique, Burcham said she has always been involved with the decision making in one form or another, which has helped aid in the transition.
“We’ve done everything together — she was in my wedding, we had children together, we’ve been to market together,” Burcham said. “It’s kind of bittersweet, the separation, but with her health issues, she had to get rid of something.”
Over the past three years, Ebelhar has battled a series of serious medical issues including the diagnosis of a brain tumor and thyroid cancer. The last year and a half has been the most difficult as she has had to undergo several surgeries, while still trying to help raise a family and maintain the business.
“She has had a lot more bad days than good days,” Burcham said. “When you are unhealthy, you just never know what tomorrow brings. I’ve been slowly taking things on so she can completely step away and focus on herself and her kiddos.”
After several sales to liquidate merchandise, The Red Door has currently closed to customers for the next month while the business transitions ownership. Ebelhar hopes to re-open sometime between the middle of September and early October.
“This is a good time to transition,” Burcham said. “We have ordered clothes and have been hanging and steaming them. As soon as the legality is done, we will be up and running.”
After the final sale, on Aug. 30, Ebelhar shared a heartfelt post on social media thanking The Red Door customers for their commitment to the boutique’s success over the years.
“A huge thank you to all that have ever shopped, looked or stepped in my door anytime the last 19 years — without you The Red Door wouldn’t be what it is today,” Ebelhar’s post read. “Now, this chapter of my life has closed. I know God has other plans — big plans — not only for me but my best friend Samantha Burcham as she takes over ownership.”
The Red Door Salon & Boutique is located at 105 E 18th St. in the Olde Towne strip plaza, 270-926-7220.