Shampoo One Spa bounces back from adversity

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Nov. 11, 2011
Stylist Emilia Miele blow-dries the hair of Erika France at Shampoo One Salon and Day Spa on Main Street. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Stylist Emilia Miele blow-dries the hair of Erika France at Shampoo One Salon and Day Spa on Main Street. Photos by Frances Taylor.

You might think a week-long power outage would be a problem for a beauty salon. But after a devastating fire destroyed the spa two years ago, a few days without power was a minor bump in the road for Shampoo One Salon and Day Spa.

“Our customers still wanted their hair done – we stood here by the windows so we could see, and the water was cold. But people still came,'' said co-owner Tina Bartell. “Our customers have been very loyal to us. We just laughed and made the best of a bad situation.''

The salon and spa, located on Main Street near the East Hartford-Glastonbury line, nearly burned to the ground in September 2009, after an electrical short started an early-morning fire in the spa side of the establishment. “The building almost completely burned and had to be gutted,'' Bartell said.  But among the ashes, firefighters found something that Bartell and co-owners Lisa Barilla and Rebecca Auguri saw as a sign of hope.

“There was an angel about foot high that we bring out every Christmas.  Everything around it was burned to ashes, but the angel was untouched and in perfect condition,'' Bartell said, noting that the building that housed the salon and other businesses was originally a church, years ago.

The salon's owners at the time of the fire, Marty and George Lefevbre, decided they could not go forward with the business any longer. That's when Bartell, who had been a stylist at the salon for 23 years, decided to step forward when the owners asked if she was interested in taking over the salon.

After a frustrating year of battling insurance companies over the faulty appliance that caused the fire, the three women plunged into rebuilding and redesigning the salon. They endured a complex permit process, as well as winter blizzards and summer hurricane that slowed down the work. “It was stressful – we had to do a complete rebuild,'' said Rebecca Auguri, who was a stylist at the salon for eight years before becoming one of its owners. “But we felt that if the business was going to be sold, it would be better if we took it over, rather than someone from the outside. We're a team here.''

The new salon was designed by LXD designers based in New York City,  whose owner is Auguri's uncle, and much of the sub- contracting was done by Auguri's husband. The spa includes an infrared sauna and a tranquility room, with elegant spaces for manicures and pedicures, massage and skin care.  The salon and spa employs 23 hair stylists and estheticians.

The hair salon remained open during the rebuild, and the spa opened two weeks ago. The official re-opening will be held Nov. 19, from 3 to 6 pm. 

Jackie Croft, a customer for 13 years, has continued coming to the salon during the entire process. “I like their friendliness and professionalism. Losing your hairdresser would be like losing your doctor," Croft said. “But they battled back, and I think the best is yet to come.''


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