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Making Manning her forever salon home

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MANNING: Angel Mundt long had wanted to do hair for a living, and after a few detours, she finally pursued her creative side and now owns A. Salon in Manning.

When she was in seventh grade she did a project with her best friend about the future, and they planned to live in Florida and own a salon together.

“So I’ve always had that in my head,” Mundt said. “But I don’t know why in high school I just — for awhile there I thought I wanted to do real estate, and then early-childhood development came into my head, and all those things — and nothing really stuck.”

She took general education classes for a year at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, then a year at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny. Then her dad, Kevin, encouraged her to go to hair school to do what she’s wanted to do since childhood.

Mundt took her dad’s advice and at the age of 21 started at La’ James International College for cosmetology school in Johnston, which is an hourly program.

At DMACC, Mundt met her husband, Justin, who is from Manning and now is the operation manager for the town. The two have been married for nearly 12 years and have three children: Rylan, 9, Piper, 7, and Dawson, 4.

While Mundt didn’t end up in Florida, she did achieve her dream of doing hair. After working in Carroll for about six years, she took time off to stay at home with her kids.

“I always had originally thought I’d go back to doing hair in Carroll, but my husband said, ‘You know, let’s just try Manning,’ since our kids are in school here now and it’d be easier,” she said about returning to work. “So I rented a chair from my friend Kasie at The Upper Cut, and then I decided to open this place.”

Mundt leased the front part of a building owned by Ashley Hinners, a photographer in town, and opened up A. Salon there. Their husbands fixed up the place, which included exposing the brick and putting in new floors. Mundt said her husband is a “handyman” and built her desk and doors.

Mundt said she didn’t know if she’d be able to build a clientele in “such a tiny town,” but added that through word of mouth, including online, business has been “really good” in the almost two years her salon has been open.

About 70 to 75 percent of clients aren’t from Manning but come from Carroll — returning and new — or from the Harlan area, Mundt explained.

“Some people come from Omaha, Des Moines — now they have connections here, so it’s not like they just out on a whim picked me — but I still think it’s neat that they travel two hours to come here,” Mundt said of some clients who travel for her services.

As a cosmetologist, Mundt needs to take continuing-education classes to keep up with her training and the trends. She’s even attended a class in Nashville.

“Balayage is really in right now, which I love,” she said about the current “in” trend. “I love doing more natural hair colors, like lived-in color, rather than the chunky, stripey highlights. That’s just not my thing, so I’m loving the kind of more natural look that’s going on right now.”

She has focused a lot on color classes the last few years, but Mundt plans to attend a few on cutting hair to freshen up her style. She’s hoping to go back to Nashville for another class in November but said she’ll have to wait and see if those plans will come through because of coronavirus restrictions.

Mundt uses Kevin Murphy hair products at A. Salon and at her home. She discovered them through her friend Kalie at Refinery Hair in Des Moines. Kalie also helped Mundt learn balayage when she came back to doing hair after spending time at home with her kids.

Mundt has other ties to Manning besides her husband — her parents, Kevin and Joni, grew up there. She said they were a little worried their daughter wouldn’t have as many opportunities in the small town.

“But Manning has changed so much, even just since I’ve moved here,” Mundt said. “It’s really progressive, and I think they think it’s pretty neat now that their daughter owns her own business in their hometown.”

Now, Mundt thinks she and her husband will stay in Manning forever. Her husband Justin loves his hometown, and she loves it too.

When she’s not busy at the salon, Mundt said, she and her family are very “outdoorsy” and like to camp and fish, and she finds time to do “girly stuff” with her daughter Piper. They also spend time at Mundt’s parents’ house in Carroll, especially now that they have an in-ground pool.

A. Salon is located at 319 Main St. in Manning and is open Monday through Thursday and Saturday mornings. Hours vary and can be found on the A. Salon Facebook page. The salon can be found on Instagram at a.salon_hair.by.angel.

Mundt said she’s not requiring her clients to wear face masks when they visit the salon, but they can choose to do so.

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