The woman behind the windows


TORRINGTON – If you’ve ever walked down Main Street, chances are, you’ve seen one of Dusty Elmore’s window displays.

Having worked the front desk of the salon for a little over two years, Elmore said this job has been perfect for her.

“I don’t have to wake up in the morning and say, ‘ugh, I’m going to work,’” she said. “I really love my job.”

Elmore schedules appointments, maintains the schedule and helps out with whatever else is needed.

“Anything the girls need, I’m there for,” she said.

Elmore consistently goes beyond her job description to pitch in where she’s needed. One of the most visible ways she does this is through her window displays.

It wasn’t long after Elmore started working at The Class Act when she decided to do something about the large empty window in the front of the salon.

“We always had this great stage out there, but nothing was ever being done with it,” Elmore said.

Elmore decided to take on the project as a team with her friend and coworker, Alex Castro. Elmore said she comes up with a vision for a window design. Then, Castro helps her focus her idea and make a concrete plan.

Castro teased Elmore about her first window.

“It looked like a three-year-old had done it,” Elmore laughed. She said she has focused on improving with every window.

Though Elmore claimed she had never been crafty before working at The Class Act, her windows have gained attention from the community. Elmore said her 2019 Christmas window won a local window-decorating contest.

Although there was no contest last year, Elmore ended up creating one of her favorite windows. In the span of four hours, Elmore put up about 300 Christmas bulbs.

A new window is designed for every holiday, Elmore said. After the Easter decorations come down, she already has her idea for Memorial Day.

As far as getting materials and decorations, Elmore said the salon already had a lot of what she has needed. According to her, long before she started working there, another woman had been decorating the windows. 

“I do buy stuff here and there, but I try to keep each window under $20,” said Elmore.

Elmore said if she needs something specific, Jan Alexander, the owner of The Class Act, is always willing to purchase those items.

Elmore’s boyfriend, Pat Bohnenkamp, also helps out, making some of the items used.

Bohnenkamp was the reason she moved to Torrington. Elmore said Bohnenkamp drastically changed her life.

“My life is a completely different world than it used to be,” Elmore said. “He treats me like a princess, and I’d never had that before.”

Prior, she had been working in Libby, Mont., at the front desk of a hotel. Bohnenkamp came in one day and the two hit it off.

“I just kind of fell in love with the man and he moved me down here,” she said.

After being in Torrington for three months, Elmore decided she needed to get a job.

“I’d never not worked,” she said. 

She also needed a haircut, so she looked in the phone book and found the Class Act. Alexander answered the phone and about an hour later, Elmore sat down to get her haircut.

While at the salon, Elmore told Alexander she was new to the area and looking for work.

“After my haircut, she brought me an application. I filled it out, I came back in, we had an interview, and she hired me,” Elmore said.

Alexander described Elmore as a great fit for the salon – dependable, outgoing, articulate and friendly.

Elmore said she couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“We all seriously love each other, and we hang out, even when we’re not at work,” she said.

Alexander said, “We’re really tight, like a family. We’ve got each other’s backs.”

A priority for Alexander is to have a family-like work culture, while remaining professional and goal-oriented.

Elmore said she works at the Class Act three to four days a week. Outside of work, Elmore enjoys camping, playing cards, a lot of fishing. She also enjoys going back to Montana every year to see her boys.

Elmore said she has appreciated her time in Torrington.

“I’m not going anywhere. I told Jan I’ll be here at least ‘til I’m 60,” she said.

Elmore said her hopes for the years to come are continuing to work for Alexander, continued good health and the continued ability to take time off for fishing and camping with loved ones. 

Next time you’re out and about downtown, make sure to stop by The Class Act to see Elmore and her coworkers’ most recent window creation.

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