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From sweeping floors to dance floors: 50 years in business for hairdresser-cum-DJ

PUBLISHED: 10:51 28 March 2018

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob Massey

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob Massey

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A Great Yarmouth businesswoman is celebrating 50 years of trading in the town.

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny HaylettJenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny Haylett

Jenny Haylett, 69, has trod an unconventional but enjoyable career path, from enterprising hairdresser to intrepid DJ to bistro owner.

It all began while cutting a customer’s hair during an apprenticeship at Denise’s in Silk Mill Road.

The customer was selling her photography shop in Deneside and Miss Haylett suggested to her mother it would make an ideal site for a hairdresser’s.

Her mum, Vida, leased the shop and after six months of renovations it was transformed into a ladies’ salon, opening on April 1, 1968.

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny HaylettJenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny Haylett

The business grew and all the while Miss Haylett took on jobs at hairdresser’s across London in order to hone her skills.

By 1975 she bought the business and opened the upstairs for mens’ haircuts, offering the punk styles of the day, such as blond streaks and perms.

But it was a customer once again that would reshape Miss Haylett’s career path.

Betty Ashby used to bring in delicious baked goods to the salon for the staff to enjoy and her cookery inspired the salon’s osmosis into the bistro bar it is today.

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob MasseyJenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jacob Massey

The business reopened as Originalle Hair Studio and Friends Bistro in May 1981, with a hairdressers upstairs and a cafe downstairs.

To pay off the cost of the work, the bistro opened in the evenings and Miss Haylett did the cooking while her partner, Margaret, ran the front of house.

In 1987 the hairdressers closed and a food shop took its place.

A rare period of stability then followed until 2005, when Miss Haylett’s undying passion for music began to creep into the picture.

Jenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny HaylettJenny Haylett is celebrating 50 years of trading in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Jenny Haylett

In 2005 the deli counter was removed to make space for dancing and the business reopened as Friends Bistro and Bar.

After playing in the bar and at numerous parties, Miss Haylett was asked to DJ at a pub in Ormesby on New Year’s Eve and has been rebooked for next year.

Miss Haylett said: “I’ve loved it all and I am excited for the future - I have no regrets.”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the bistro and bar will be serving meals and songs from down the decades.

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