Coleen Pedro always wanted to be a hairstylist, but there was one small thing preventing her from becoming one: she didn’t have a high school diploma.

Pedro, the owner of “Coleen’s A Cut Above” on Main Street in Echo, dropped out of Umatilla High School midway through her senior year after having a child two decades ago.

As a single mom, she worked as a waitress at Shari’s to make ends meet.

It was there that she met her future husband.

She went on to quit her job at Shari’s, and became a stay-at-home mom to three kids. But as time wore on, she grew antsy to start up something of her own.

“I was a mommy, which I loved, but I always knew I liked hair,” Pedro said. “I was friends with the lady who used to own the grocery store here in Echo, and there was a little hole in the wall next door – a vacant space. I decided I wanted to open a beauty shop.

“As a mom of three kids, you need a flexible schedule. So it was perfect.”

To open a beauty shop, she’d have to go to beauty school. To go to beauty school, she’d have to get her General Educational Development degree — something she had been avoiding.

“I remember always being so scared, I thought it’d be a horrible experience,” Pedro said. “But it was a piece of cake. I regretted not doing it earlier.”

She obtained her GED, went to beauty school and — after putting in $14,000 of her own money to remodel the shop — opened up business on June 12, 2002.

Pedro runs the shop entirely by herself.

“It’s a lot of work, but I like it that way,” she said.

Considering the business lived to see its 10th anniversary — which was celebrated this past month — Pedro must be doing something right.

She credits the supports she’s received and the number of frequent, returning customers her business thrives off of.

“I’ve gotten a ton of support,” Pedro said. “At times I felt like giving up, but I didn’t. I’m certainly glad I didn’t.”

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