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Call it an extreme makeover. The remodeling of the 1960s-era insurance building at 52 E. Burlington into the airy, contemporary Salon D’Amore hair salon and full-service spa has been a complete transformation.
“Doing this salon in Riverside has given the whole town a kind of lift,” said owner Teri Tabor. “People are stopping by saying, ‘This is great. Riverside needs you. Good luck!'”
Tabor rented a space on East Burlington Street for six and a half years, but she leaped at the chance to buy the former Sundstrom Agencies building across the street. Doing so, she doubled her workspace and added space for a second nail technician, massage rooms and a “tint bar” where hair color is mixed onsite.
“I took a leap of faith in something I feel very strongly about,” Tabor said. “We’re the only full-service spa in Riverside.” Tabor will employ two full-time nail technicians and additional hairdressers as well as three part-time masseuses.
A complete gut job transformed the 2,000- square-foot space, says designer Lynn Babinsky of Riverside’s Lynne Interiors.
“It was a fifties/sixties space that felt very low and very dark,” Babinsky said. “It was a warren of dark little rooms with low ceilings.”
Babinsky came out of a self-imposed career hiatus to help her neighbor design the salon.
“I refused any projects with the exception of this one,” she said.
The new salon has full-length windows, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and deep black coffeewood accents. Neutral colors have “punches of bright green and metallic orange and purple,” said Babinsky.
The new location also comes with a welcome asset in downtown Riverside, private, offstreet parking around back, where another entrance will help clients get inside during inclement weather.
Tabor says her clients have been very supportive of the change.
“You always develop strong relationships when you are doing hair for a long time,” Tabor said. Over the years she’s also helped cancer patients by styling wigs and “when their hair is coming back in.”
When money is tight “people do cut back on [haircuts]. But usually most women – and men – will maintain their hair, if they can.” She’s hoping word of mouth will bring in new customers.
“When you see a small business, it’s a positive thing. People want businesses in Riverside, but they don’t always support businesses in Riverside,” Tabor said. “So far people have been good to me.”