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Longtime hairdresser Jane Vela to open new salon


March 3, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 2, 2012 at 9:03 p.m.

Jane Vela sits at the dryer that she gave to her granddaughter, Roxanne Ramos (reflected), from the recently closed salon that she owned for 16 years, Hair Solutions by Jane, so that Ramos could use it in her new salon, Lovely Locks. Ramos started working with her grandmother as a teenager and just opened her salon as her grandmother closed and sold hers.

The lights might be out at longtime Victoria salon Hair Solutions by Jane, but its namesake is here to stay.

Owner Jane Vela closed the 16-year-old salon Wednesday, after the work began to take a physical toll. She set up shop the next day at Sexy Image Salon, 112 Jason St., explaining she wasn't ready to give up on the job.

"I love what I do," she said. "I love the people I work with. I want to keep going."

Dedication or not, the road wasn't always an easy one.

After working in several other salons, Vela opened her business in 1990 with one chair, a hair dryer, a small table and 12-hour days.

"You've got to be there when they go to look for you," she said with a shrug. "It was a struggle, but I always tell people you have to struggle to make it."

The entrepreneur built her business up over time and passed her passion along to her granddaughter, Roxanne Ramos, who worked alongside her until the shop's closing.

Fate had dealt Vela another hurdle when doctors, diagnosing her with breast cancer, gave her a mere six months to live.

That was four years ago.

Throughout the daily chemotherapy and radiation treatments - and sometimes with medical drainage tubes emerging from her body after her double mastectomy - she still managed to report to work.

"She couldn't talk for five months, but she still did hair," Ramos said incredulously, describing a throat surgery Vela underwent after her cancer spread. "She just never stops."

Now with her cancer in remission, Vela said she looks forward to the coming change - one with fewer worries.

In the transition, she donated a dryer to her granddaughter's new venture, a salon called Lovely Locks, and Vela said her new job means less stress for her, since she will no longer oversee employees.

And, while Vela said she's happy to continue on with the customers she's grown to know and love - she plans to keep hours Tuesday through Saturday - Ramos said she hoped to see her grandma have some fun.

"I tell her to travel and to do whatever it is she wants to do," Ramos said, explaining Vela missed out on family trips and weddings to be there for her clients. "She deserves it."

As for Vela, she said she was happy with her decision to ease her responsibility on the job.

"It's time for me to back off and let somebody else do that job," she said with a smile. "I'm ready."



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