When Billie Muench graduated from Southwest Tech’s barber/cosmetology program in 1996 her first job was working for Cindy Frohne at the Top Notch salon in Muscoda. Fast forward nearly 20 years and the roles have been reversed. Frohne now rents a chair at Muench’s new salon, Billies Bob in Blue River.
“She called me after she sold her house in Muscoda and moved to Blue River,” Muench says about Frohne reaching out to her. “I thought it was a great idea and here we are back together again. It’s really neat. She’s got many of the same clients that we had 20 years ago.”
Muench purchased the former New Designs salon on Clinton Street after owner Maria O’Connor Miles passed away in September. Billie had rented a chair from Maria since 2013 and is excited about the new opportunity.
“We put a lot of work into it, but everything’s going well now,” she says.
Working with Frohne is an added bonus.
“It’s kind of weird working next to her again after all these years, but it’s pretty cool,” says Billie.
Frohne works at Billie’s every other Friday. The rest of the time she is an instructor at Southwest Tech in the same program Muench graduated from, as well as fellow Billie’s stylists Sarah Frey and Emily Hoehne. O’Connor Miles also worked as an instructor in the cosmetology program there. And Hoehne’s boyfriend is the son of Barb McCormick, also a cosmetology instructor at Southwest Tech.
Needless to say, the connections run deep. “So we’re all connected; it’s pretty cool,” says Billie.
“I was a student of both Cindy and Maria,” says Frey, who worked for Maria for 10 years before her death.
“Actually, I was a student in the first class Cindy ever taught 12 years ago.”
Hoene was also a student of Cindy’s. And what does she think of working with her former students and seeing them succeed professionally?
“I love it!” exclaims Frohne. “It’s very cool and makes me proud.”
Frohne is also proud of the success of the many students that she has taught and who have moved on to work at area salons or start their own businesses over the years.
There have been 300 graduates since Southwest Tech’s barber/cosmetology program began in 1988. Ninety-percent of 2014 graduates were employed in their field and 100 percent of those were employed in the Southwest Tech District of Grant, Iowa, Crawford, Richland and Lafayette counties.