"My father taught me: Take care of the people who take care of you," explained Summer Ramsey. That scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours motto is both her business ethic and her commitment to her friends and family.
A 35-year-old with reddish-brown hair, silver nose ring and a big, bright smile, Ramsey is a mother of two and owns her own westside hair salon, Plethora.
"Word of mouth is definitely our No. 1 source of advertising," Ramsey said. "The local network is really the way to go—keeping integrity within the community."
As if to underscore her point, she told me all this just 10 minutes after finishing up with a longtime client who needed a haircut in a hurry. It was Monday, Ramsey's off day. Yet the Bend native came in anyway to cut her customer's hair.
But such an effort at work and in the community—Ramsey said she participates in just about every fundraiser and local initiative that comes through her salon's doors—leaves little room for much else. Ramsey's two kids— Cash, 4, and Teylor, 16—fill most of her remaining hours.
"I don't know how I do it," mused Ramsey. "But I just put on my big-girl pants and blast through the day."
And that can-do attitude has powered her through. When the local economy tanked, she chose to walk away from her house rather than close her business. She weathered the turbulent years with all five employees still on board. In fact, the four women and the lone male stylist have been with Ramsey, at Plethora, for at least six years. The six of them generate business by being good at what they do—even if that means taking an appointment on a scheduled day off.
Ramsey also believes in living local. She and her employees often get lunch and midday treats from their next-door neighbors, The Village Baker. The idea being, support local business and that support, in the form of dollars spent within the community, will be returned. It's worked for at least the last seven years, Ramsey pointed out.
Her overaching secret, she said, is simple: Never discount the power of positive thinking. Ramsey, ever the optimist, has cultivated a loyal following, given back to the community she loves and is happily raising two kids on her own—all because she's a glass-half-full kind of person.
Also, it helps if the glass's contents are 20 ounces of Red Chair.
"I built my cliental with girls from Deschutes Brewery," Ramsey added.