For more than three decades Tara Lane owned Guys and Dolls hair salon in Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck. Lane passed away on June 11 from COVID-19. She was 57.
A Throggs neck native, Lane, who operated the shop for about 35 years, was beloved in the community. Guys and Dolls was originally in Pelham Bay before relocating to 3577 E. Tremont Ave. in Throggs Neck for 15 years until it moved to the town of Eastchester in 2018.
Throggs Neck business owner John Cerini, who met Lane when he started the Throggs Neck Merchant Association (TNMA), described her as a “diamond in the rough.” Cerini didn’t know she was sick and was shocked when he heard about her death.
“She was a very successful business woman that everybody loved,” Cerini told the Bronx Times. “She always had a smile on her face.”
Cerini, who has a tax and insurance business on East Tremont Avenue, saw her often when she was in the neighborhood. In 2011, Lane was honored for her commitment to the community by TNMA.
The two eventually became friends and Cerini saw the impact she had on Bronxites. Not to mention, his wife got her haircut there as well.
According to Cerini, it was more than just a haircut when people went to Guys and Dolls. The place had a welcoming atmosphere and Lane always made everyone feel at home.
“When she walked in a room she always put a smile on her face,” Cerini recalled. “As long as I knew her she was always in a good mood.”
One person who knew Lane well was Katie Engelhardt. Engelhardt was her employee for 19 years and the two became quite close. Engelhardt explained that although Lane was not married nor had any children, her clients were her family. Lane also had several nieces and nephews who meant a lot to her.
“She was a force to be reckoned with,” Engelhardt said. “She had a heart of gold. She would do anything for anybody.”
At age 20, Engelhardt first came to Guys and Dolls with a resume and it not only became a job, but much more. She and Lane became friends and went on vacations often together.
“She made everything fun,” she said. “I never met anyone like her. She taught me everything, not even about hair. Her presence in my life made me a better wife, mother and hairdresser. I still hear things that she told me in my head.”
Engelhardt noted that for her clients to follow Lane for 30-plus years she must have been doing something right.
“She loved her clients and they loved her,” Engelhardt added. “She believed in what she did. She had a passion for hair.”
Lane contracted the coronavirus in March, but most people did not know. However, Engelhardt said at one point the feeling was she would recover.
Many of her clients expressed their condolences on social media.
“This is devastating and shocking news. I’ve been a client of Guys & Dolls for decades. Tara always had a smile on her face and was always welcoming. My heartfelt condolences and prayers to her family. Rest In Peace, Tara”
“Shocked. Just heard this last night. My first job in the Bronx was with Tara. So sorry to hear this. Terrible loss. Such a talented women. Rest In Peace Tara. Can’t believe I am texting this ”