Situated in an open, ornate space on Commercial Street, Bellisima Salon & Boutique offers a comprehensive selection of luxury treatments, including hair coloring and design, nail art and waxing.
Current owner Lauren Wright has been a licensed hairdresser for about 20 years. She purchased the salon from Carole Chase Simmons three years ago. At the time, she had been working at the salon for nearly a year.
After her home in Warrenton burned down, Wright received a check from the insurance agency for the personal items she lost and was trying to figure out what to do with the unexpected funds. At the time, she was a single mom going through a divorce and leaving a negative domestic situation, she said. Wright felt led by her God to invest the money in herself so she wouldn’t again be in a situation where she was subject to someone else’s control, she said.
The next day, Wright said, she went to work intending to ask Simmons for a partnership in the business. Instead, Simmons told Wright that she had another job opportunity and was moving away. The women agreed upon terms for changing ownership and Wright took the helm. Soon after, she moved the salon from its former location off 14th Street its current location, 1004 Commercial St. in Astoria.
Reflecting on her past, Wright discussed her struggles with homelessness, living in a battered women’s shelter, going through a divorce and raising five children as a single mother.
“I’ve dealt with so many difficult times but (things have gotten better) by making one little good decision after another and then allowing God to open up a door for me each way,” Wright said.
Although being a business owner is a big responsibility, it also provides a solid platform and resources to serve other people in the community. Bellisima offers free haircuts, along with makeup and hairstyling for events like prom and to groups like foster children and individuals experiencing homelessness.
Another positive aspect of the business, Wright said, is how well the small team collaborates and supports one another, even spending time together outside of work doing recreational activities.
“Sisterhood is really big in this salon,” she said.
Bellisima is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.