Valentina Hartman had been cutting hair since she was 18 and was ready to move on.
“My body was getting destroyed from cutting hair,” Hartman said. “I have hair in my lungs, I had surgery on one hand and I now need it on the other. I had to stand in a really bad position.”
She thought about selling Tori’s Place, her hair salon in Port Washington, but changed her mind and decided to renovate the shop to provide ear piercing instead, she said.
The newly refurbished shop debuted on Friday, with a reopening ceremony that was complete with a ribbon-cutting.
“It’s an exciting day,” she said after the ceremony.
Alongside Hartman were her family, friends, local business owners and officials such as Town Clerk Wayne Wink.
Hartman opened Tori’s Place, named after her daughter, in 2005. It was a kid-friendly hair salon that provided ear piercing until she could no longer continue cutting hair.
With no one to take over the business, she decided to sell it. She had a prospective buyer who would carry on the business under the same name, but before the sale, Hartman had a change of heart.
“They wanted to turn it into a cutting factory…and that’s not what we do here,” she said. “We’re very personalized and into the customers.”
So she gave recommendations to her customers as to where they could get their hair cut. Then, she completely remolded her store.
“They did a spectacular job,” Port Washington Chamber of Commerce Bobbie Polay Executive Director Bobbie Polay, one of many in attendance for the ceremony, said. “It’s very bright, cheery, and welcoming.”
As for the future, Hartman said she would like to open another Tori’s Place, preferably on Long Island, and possibly expand to a location elsewhere in the country. She said she would like to one day pass the store on to its namesake, who is currently in middle school.
“The big idea for me to change everything around [instead of selling] was that maybe if she did want to take this over, then this would her stepping stone,” Hartman said. “But right now she’s a teenager, so if I tell her this is what I want her to do, she’ll push back. If I make it so cool that she wants to do it, then that’s the plan.”