Mother and daughter team of Georgia and Penny Poe recently celebrated their 30th year in business with perhaps the biggest move yet: a move out of Middleburg into the small, Clarke County village of Millwood.
They opened Poe Pourri Hair Designers in downtown Middleburg in 1987 and moved within the town three times, having been at their most recent location for 20 years. Georgia Poe had raised her family in Purcellville and Penny Poe, a Loudoun Valley High School graduate, came on board to help her mom launch Poe Pourri when she was just 21 years old. Georgia Poe previously owned a business in Middleburg so, after a brief relocation to Lancaster, PA, she decided the town was the right place to give it another go.
“Middleburg was where she had always worked, and what we knew,” Penny Poe said.
In the business’ 30 years in town, they came to find a loyal clientele who made the trip to fill their chairs and share stories and laughs while the Poes worked their magic. Family was a big part of the shop, as family photographs and paintings lined the walls. The regular clients became an extended part of the family fabric as well, they both said.
Mother and daughter have a natural chemistry, which has made working together for three decades relatively easy, Penny Poe said. Working mostly different hours has also helped, with Penny Poe balancing an at-home job as a policy analyst since 2000.
“We balance each other. I’m a Pisces; she’s a Virgo,” Penny Poe said. “She grounds me and sometimes I make her a little less grounded. It works very well.”
With the lease on their most recent space in Middleburg expiring in July, the two made the decision to leave the town and open a new shop in Millwood. It is geographically easier for both, with Georgia Poe commuting from Stephens City and Penny Poe up the road in Berryville. But it was a decision that did not come without some heartache.
“It was hard for me,” Georgia Poe said. “It’s still an emotional thing because I was there for so long. But I don’t regret coming here. I think it was the right thing to do.”
Georgia Poe said many of her clients didn’t like the fact that she had such a lengthy drive to get to work, and all were receptive to the move, with many promising to make the trip to Millwood. The fact that the clients have promised to follow them dulls the pain of leaving Middleburg, Penny Poe said.
“It brings up a little grief, leaving a space that was a huge part of my adult life. Nothing in my adult life has lasted 30 years other than the hair salon,” Penny Poe said with a laugh.
Their “new chapter,” as Georgia Poe calls it, starts in much the same way as the previous ones did. The neatly adorned space is lined with family photos and paintings, and Millwood reminds both mom and daughter of the Middleburg of old. The duo has seen a significant change in the town, with a recent spate of business turnover and many of Middleburg’s old guard leaving the town, whether by move, retirement or passing away.
In Millwood, they find an “eclectic” village, they said, full of artists and writers. Across the street from the new salon is the Burwell-Morgan Mill, home of the biannual Art at the Mill show. Next door is the Locke Store, a popular general store-type haunt for both locals and passersby. It’s a village with a robust antiques scene, and home to many for years, and some more recently by way of retirement.
“Middleburg is to Loudoun County what Millwood is to Clarke County,” Penny Poe said.
The two have high hopes for their new home, and Penny Poe said there is a possibility down the road to rent out space above their shop to help a young stylist starting their business, much as she did 30 years ago.
“I grew up in my mom’s shop, shampooing hair and mixing color for it. My friends would come over and I’d cut their hair. When I was in college that’s what I did to make money for the weekend. I did perms in my dorm room,” Penny Poe recalled. “It would be wonderful to watch another young person grow a business and help them develop that.”
As for now, the Poes will enjoy settling into their new space, welcoming old friends and making new ones.
“I feel comfortable here,” Penny Poe said. “It just fits.”
Poe Pourri is located at 2045 Millwood Road in Millwood. Georgia and Penny Poe will be available for appointments Tuesday through Saturday. The shop can be reached at 540-837-1100, and can be found online at sites.google.com/a/poepourri.biz/poe-pourri-hair-designers.