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Alisha Mattei of Runs With Scissors -- Why NEPA? image
December 19, 2023
Alisha Mattei of Runs With Scissors -- Why NEPA?
Jonathan Davies

“I opened my small hair shop in what used to be my corner deli when I was a kid. I’d ride my bike down here every day to get candy. That’s the kind of thing I love about NEPA.”

Expert local stylist, colorist, hair extraordinaire Alisha Mattei is a self-ascribed “NEPA lifer.” Well, except for that errant year in Philly where she studied personal training and cracked heads with the She Devils of the Penn Jersey Roller Derby League.

Before all that though, she was just a BMX kid from Hudson. And in between timed loops in the woods near her house and candy runs to the corner deli with a pocketful of change, Alisha enjoyed a classic NEPA childhood. She went on to Coughlin High School, then Empire Beauty School, then Wilkes University and LCCC. After fixing a few bad, 90s bowl cuts (see Lloyd Christmas) and dabbling during that quintessential Gwen Stefani era, she kind of naturally fell into hair. And, from there, it’s been nothing short of a wild ride.

She started on the corporate side – hated it. Rented a tiny space and built a long list of local clients — loved it. When it came to landlords – yeah, back to hating it. Alisha was never deterred. When doors closed (and many did), she always looked for others to open. And when they didn’t, she kicked them down. Somewhere in the middle of it all, she found herself at a popular Wilkes-Barre club where she fell for a young, red-mohawked barback named Davey. One date and the rest was history (and wedding bells and building careers and lives together – someone call Hallmark).

Oh yeah, don’t forget the part where she went back to that corner deli from her old neighborhood and bought it. It’s now home to one of NEPA’s most unique, creative and beloved hair shops. She calls it Runs With Scissors. It’s also where we caught up, had a chat and quizzed her Why NEPA style.


How long have you lived in NEPA?

I lived in NEPA my whole life minus one year in my early twenties where I lived and breathed hair, personal training and roller derby with the Penn Jersey She Devils in Philly.

What do you love about your town?

My family. My incredible husband. I love all of my close friends and the opportunities I’ve had here to grow into an independent hair artist for my clients. I love how the change of seasons seems to get more and more beautiful as time passes. And, of course, the people – especially all the people around me who continue to uplift the community.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Ok. This is a hands-down, biased answer since my bestie, Lindsey, owns R Bar and Grill in Nanticoke. It started as this small corner bar and eventually grew into this awesome, family-owned, community-based business. As a small business owner, I know how much hard work they continue to do to make it as successful as it is today. I’m so proud of her and her family. So, anybody reading this – go check out R Bar in Nanticoke (laughs)! You’ll love it. A few other favorites would have to be Plains Pub, Betelli’s Villa and Grico’s. We’re always supporting local, self-made restaurants whenever we can and especially on those nights where cooking after a long day of work should just be left to the professionals.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

Oh man. There is so much I love to do around NEPA! Sometimes, I’ll literally just get on my scooter and cruise all over. Basically that, or I’m hiking. We have some of the absolute best hiking around. Ricketts Glen is one of my favorites. In the summer, we’ll do a long hike and then stop at the beach for a little packed lunch and meditation. It’s so relaxing. It’s easy to get to – doesn’t cost anything. I’m always amazed when people I know, who’ve lived here all of their lives, don’t even know about things like that. I mean, if you’re fortunate enough to live here, you have to be getting out there for a little exploring and adventure.

What’s next for you?

A magician never reveals her secrets (laughs)… psych. I’m just a beautician. We kind of really love what we have going on here. It’s a small, by-appointment-only, 3-chair studio. That keeps us close to our clients and the community. And by us, I mean me, my hair-bestie and soul sister, Melanie “Mel” Murosky and Bill “Bill the Barber” Arthur. We’ve all been at this for a while. We don’t really see a need to change things too much. We’ve worked hard to build this uniquely creative and relaxing environment for our clients, and for ourselves, really. It’s so important to maintain that and to continue lifting each other up, learning on the daily, creating awesome hair and sharing laughter with our clients. We want everyone to feel genuinely safe to be themselves when they’re here. And I think our clients feel that. We’re so grateful for everyone who’s chosen us to take care of them throughout the years, and we hope to continue taking care of them for years to come.

Other than that, I don’t know. Maybe we’ll update the website or something (laughs). No. For real though, next for me, personally, is to keep aligning with healthy work/life balance and to stay focused on all those things that really matter in life.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope that NEPA continues to keep blowing my mind with cool developments like the new skate park, the train to Jim Thorpe, all of the small businesses and new restaurants popping up and awesome beautification projects.


Being here for my family, friends and clients is a top priority. It’s “Why NEPA” for me. As a kid, I used to think that I wanted to move really far away. As I got older and started to experience my independence and started working steadily, since like 15, the idea of getting away from here started to change. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people through a bunch of different jobs here, and they taught me so much about life. That’s a legit shout out to Gallery of Sound back in the day (laughs) and my first and favorite manager, James.

I’ve certainly had plenty of failures, and I learned just as many lessons – more than I ever thought possible. And the most valuable thing I’ve learned over the years here is that sometimes it takes the biggest mistakes in your life to learn the biggest lessons. You just have to keep moving forward and surround yourself with people who are committed to understanding you. I’m totally recalling all of this now because I literally just offered these same words of wisdom to my awesome nephew, Brayden the other day (laughs). Seriously though, our area has so much heart. I see it every day.

And… It’s also a bonus that we’re pretty centrally-located to a bunch of cool day trip adventures too.