Shelby Cannon decided in 2016 to transform the oversized waiting room in her mother Debbie Hobbs’s decades-old beauty salon into a boutique for the full range of clothing sizes, home décor, jewelry, gifts, baby items, candles, and food she was selling on social media.
A contest for Facebook shoppers generated the slogan “A modern boutique with vintage charm.” A stranger’s delight in Shelby’s 4-year-old niece Tylee Hobbs’s hair and clunky necklace – “Look at her pearls and curls!” – inspired the name.
Shelby was managing the shop part-time while she taught in elementary school, but the business grew so fast that she went full-time in 2019 and they recently added 200 square feet, one-third the original space, to the sales floor.
Pearls & Curls, offers toddler to plus-size clothing and makes custom t-shirts for parties, baseball teams, summer camps, and other groups. It sells locally-produced dip mixes and offers gift wrapping.
Pearls & Curls, 40 minutes from Joplin and 1.5 hours from Kansas City, was voted Best Boutique of the Four State Area by KOAM and Fox 14 listeners in 2018, and 2019 and placed second in The Joplin Globe’s reader-selected Best Boutique, and won The Best Store Front in Kansas in 2018 with The Boutique Hub, and Best Boutique Runner up in Kansas in 2019 with The Boutique Hub. The store received a City of Girard entrepreneurship award, and the owners were sent to The Schallert Group’s international Destination Boot Camp in Longmont, Colo., for training to elevate the business, city, and community economic activity and quality of life.
Customers, including students from the local high school and from nearby Pittsburg State University, get their hair and nails done on one side and select clothing, shoes, and accessories for a date night or special event on the other. Visitors also enjoy touring Girard’s historic buildings and monuments that date to the 19th century as well as local specialty shops and restaurants.
Co-owner Debbie Hobbs has owned a hair and nail salon in Girard for more than three decades. She and her husband, Ron, have two children, Cody and Shelby, and two grandchildren, Tylee and Tucker.
Co-owner Shelby Hobbs and her husband, Travis, have three dogs. She is a former elementary autism school teacher.
Donna Price, a seamstress, is Debbie’s mother, Shelby’s grandmother, and Tylee and Tucker’s great-grandmother.