Maggie Varney, founder and CEO of Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan, trims the wig of Kayla DeJesus in the organization’s new facility June 16. DeJesus, 13, of Chesterfield Township, was also fitted for a new wig, which will be custom made and delivered later this summer.

Maggie Varney, founder and CEO of Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan, trims the wig of Kayla DeJesus in the organization’s new facility June 16. DeJesus, 13, of Chesterfield Township, was also fitted for a new wig, which will be custom made and delivered later this summer.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Smiles and new services in new Wigs 4 Kids building

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 2, 2020

 Everything is sized for children in the gym space.

Everything is sized for children in the gym space.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — It’s been a long time coming, but Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan is now operating out of a brand new building on Harper Avenue, funded by donors and sponsors of the charity that provides wigs and support services for children across the state experiencing hair loss.

Moving in the middle of a pandemic may actually have been easier than if business at the charity and its Go Green Salon hadn’t been shut down for nearly three months, said Maggie Varney, founder and CEO of Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan.

“You always look for the rainbow in every situation,” she said.

“It truly was a blessing for me to have that time to pack everything up,” she continued. “We didn’t know if we were going to open, so I kept taking down a section (at a time), but I left up the kids’ room that I see the children in, and the sink, because if she (Gov. Gretchen Whitmer) said at any point that we could reopen, I wanted to be able to see the children.”

Varney said she also used the time to search for furnishings for the new facility and also develop new programming.

Construction was delayed due to COVID-19, but Varney said that they had the physical building built and most of the interior finished before work was halted in March. Once construction was allowed again in May, “they started coming in here and plowing through it and getting it done,” Varney said.

“I do not know how we would have accomplished this if we had been open during this time,” she said. “I would not have had time to do all this.”

Even though her doors were closed to the public, Varney said that she was able to help some children who were hospitalized receive in-stock wigs through the mail with the help of nurses who provided measurements.

“Some of the kids were pretty upset about losing their hair,” she said. “The rest of them understood that I just couldn’t take a chance.”

Nevertheless, the shutdown hurt Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan financially, as it has thousands of other businesses across the state and country. Varney said the organization is very dependent on third-party fundraisers and events for funding, and several large events that typically raise tens of thousands of dollars for the organization have been postponed to the fall. Now she’s just hoping they can happen at all.

“It’s cost us about $300,000,” Varney said. “That’s what did not come through the doors, but it’s just postponed. Hopefully, we are able to recoup it in the fall.”

The organization and its Go Green Salon also benefited from the federal Payroll Protection Plan. Varney said she had to shut the doors to the salon a week before Whitmer ordered them closed “because of the sensitivity of the work we do.”

All the headaches and hard work were worth it, though.

“I walk through here every morning and every night and I thank God for it,” Varney said. “I’m so thrilled that the kids now are going to have a brick and mortar forever (home).”

The new facility is bright, cheery and roomy, Varney said.

“Every room has a purpose and every room has a function when I designed it,” she said.

The 4,600-square-foot building allows the organization to double the amount of children it serves. It includes an enchanted tea room, which will be open to the public for a minimal charge, and the Go Green Salon will now also offer paying clients nail services, massages, facials and other skincare that it was not able to offer in the other facility.

“When it shuts down at 5 (p.m.), it’s just available to the kids,” Varney said. “Everything is free (for the children receiving wigs and other services). They have to generate revenue so we can give all the services away to the kids and their families.”

She said she’s happy to be able to offer more services than she was able to in the old space. Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan had been renting space in a shopping center located just south of the new building.

The Go Green Salon at Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan, 30130 Harper Ave., is now accepting appointments for hair and nail services, with more services coming soon. Maggie’s Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan is now also accepting monetary donations and donations of hair. The organization is also always looking for volunteers. To learn more, visit wigs4kids.org or call (586) 772-6656. Interested visitors can also call to schedule a tour of the new building.

Varney said that she has always taken special precautions with the health of the children she serves because of their compromised immunity.

“I always see the kids privately and I always give them two hours,” she said. “I always wear a mask with the kids, anyways, because I don’t want to expose them to anything.”

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