GOODHUE - The world is filled with unique and, often, obscure businesses and careers. NPR's show "Ask Me Another" has a whole game dedicated to people with unique jobs and hobbies. Two worthy candidates for the show's segment are Lana Huemann and Joy Miller. The two friends opened the Professional Lice Center on March 25 in Goodhue. Yep, you read that right: lice center.
In reality, though this may sound like an obscure business idea, it is becoming more and more common.
Huemann and her husband own the Sawyer Building in Goodhue. Half of the building is home to Workout 24/7, but the other side was empty. Huemann, also a real estate agent, would ask each of her clients what they thought that she should put in the empty section of the building. One day, a person suggested installing a lice center. Within the next couple of weeks two more people had the same idea. So Huemann did some research.
"Yep, there's a need. Everybody from southeastern Minnesota is driving up to the Cities," for this treatment, Huemann said.
She reached out to her friend Joy Miller to see if she wanted to become a partner in creating and opening a head lice center. Miller, who works at the Red Wing medical center, agreed. The friends did more research on head lice and lice removal and flew to Florida for a week to earn their certifications in the Strand-By-Strand Shepard Method. Miller explained how practitioners use method on clients' hair.
"Basically you section off their head into four sections and then take every section strand by strand like in a row kind of thing," she said.
The Professional Lice Center uses an enzyme-free product before beginning to go through the head. Miller and Huemann explained that they are very specific in what products they use in their business.
"When you get over the counter, that's all pesticides and it's just very dangerous for your skin, your scalp and little kids," Miller said.
The length of the procedure and is cost depends on hair length and thickness and the severity of the infestation. An average head without a major case of lice could take from 90 minutes to two hours. When Huemann and Miller were in Florida, there was a case that took 12 hours. (It was completed in a couple of sittings.)
Once the Shepard Method is complete, Huemann and Miller will have patients come back for a follow-up visit in so many days based on the infestation.
According to Miller, along with removing lice, the Professional Lice Center works to help teach community members about prevention and treatment.
"We're basically here to really educate the parents, the patients, just because there's so many miscommunications out there of how to treat, how to clean."
Huemann and Miller gave a couple of tips:
• Parents should comb their children's hair regularly.
• If there is a case of lice in a child's classroom, check your child's head every day.
• Keep long hair pulled back.
• Don't share hair brushes or combs.
"Prevention is key," Huemann said.
However, if someone brings home lice, community members can stop by the Professional Lice Center for treatments or to buy products and tools that they use and tackle the lice at home.
"It's definitely a cost-saver," Miller said of home care, "but you gotta stay on top of it and be very diligent-but it can be done."
Currently Miller and Huemann are the only people who work at the lice center. However, they will have a manager coming on in early May and are looking to hire employees since, as they stressed, they both have jobs outside of the Professional Lice Center.
For hours and more information, to go www.facebook.com/professionallicecenter.