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Souzi’s Salon owner: ‘I feel like my dream came true’

Despite a pandemic hanging in the air, it’s still possible to reach through to manifest ambition — provided the aid of a caring community and the grit to persevere, as evinced by a newly-opened downtown hair salon.

Souzi’s Salon, 412 William St., was open for less than two months before the new enterprise was forced to close for three months after March 12, said Souzi Bentelspacher, owner.

“I didn’t get the chance to do anything,” she said. “The clients I did in January, they started to come in, they started to tell their friends and family.”

With more than 20 years of experience with hair, Bentelspacher came back to the area from San Antonio, Texas, to be closer to family, including her sister who owns Ozzy and Mae’s, also in the city.

It was with her words of encouragement that Bentelspacher gained the courage to venture out on her own.

“I love the neighborhood here in Downtown Williamsport,” she said. “All the stores are close to each other. They support each other and it seems like they give each other business.”

Within two weeks Bentelspacher was able to find everything to furnish her new building and establish her lease on the building, which came replete with a large picture window where passersby can observe her work.

“I always wanted to open my own business, but this time I said, ‘Okay, this is it. I’m gonna follow my dream and I’m gonna do it,’ even when COVID-19 came I didn’t give up,” she said. “I’m going to go back and I’m going to do it again.”

Being a newcomer to the community, Bentelspacher said the chance of a new start and life excited her.

A large part of business in a hairdressing community is spread through word of mouth and clientele, however, making a new start risky.

Though only open for a few months before the shutdown, those clients told their friends and family.

When she reopened in June, Bentelspacher said she came back to a loyal following.

“They aren’t giving up on me, so I’m not going to give up,” she said.

Keeping her business open was not only a matter of her personal determination, but embodied the will of all of those who patronized her business, said Bentelspacher.

“I feel like my dream came true — I accomplished something,” she said. “I feel like every morning I want to get up and I want to come here.”

“This is what I’ve been looking for and I feel so proud of myself,” she added.

With her new role in the area and community supporting her, Bentelspacher said she’ll work hard to keep her place.

“Nothing is going to stop me from what I want to do,” she said. “This was my dream, and I know it was a little rocky, but I’m not gonna stop, I’m going to keep pushing.”

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