Missy Cooley, a business owner and popular local by any standard, has been replaced by a giant package of Bounty paper towels. Cooley is co-owner of the Mulberry Street Barber Shop in Loudon, and “the girl in the middle.” She is normally flanked by her business partner, Rex Mingie, and his younger brother, Nick.

Unfortunately for many of the regulars, Missy has been absent for a while. It seems she is on maternity leave, something most men don’t expect from their barbers.

“I been kinda wond’rin’ what to do, myself,” said one rather long-shanked resident. “I don’t let nobody but Missy cut my hair, and she just ain’t been there.”

It was Rex, the “fella next to the winder” who inadvertently came up with an answer to the problem.

“I was cleaning up one evening, and left that pack of paper towels on the floor next to Missy’s chair. The next day, customers just starting sitting in the chair for about twenty minutes not moving a muscle then they’d get up, put $8 in the chair, and leave happy. It’s the darndest thing.”

Mingie says he plans to leave the package there until Cooley’s return. “Heck, it’s money in her pocket, no matter how you slice it. And the regulars feel better, whether their hair is shorter or not.”