September 21, 2006

Salon Expands, Opens Sake Bar

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City Style Hair Salon will be serving sake, waxing legs and cutting hair at the same time this fall. The two-year-old College Avenue haircut provider is expanding and opening a combination salon and sake bar on Eddy St.

“It will be a new experience for this area,” said Jonathan Flanigan, part owner of City Style.

According to Flanigan, a former Los Angeles nightclub promoter, the goal of the expansion is to allow the City Style staff to provide spa services to customers that they could not in their smaller venue. This means offering hair services, full body waxes, manicures, pedicures and serving high-end sake, wines and beers in two different parts of the same building. Flannigan also spoke of eventually hiring a masseuse or bringing tattoo artists from New York twice a month.

“We’re all about giving our clients the experience of any big city salon and that means serving them from head to toe,” Flanigan said.

With its unusual gimmick, the hair salon will continue to compete for customers with other hairdressers in Collegetown, but owners are more curious than nervous about losing customers.

“City Style has totally different concept,” said Wayne Shafer, manager of Studio 108 Hair/Design. “It’ll be interesting to see how a bar-type salon deal will work, but we’re not worried about losing out on business.”

City Style also encroaches on services previously covered only by nightclubs such as Level B and Pixel. Flanigan claims that the club City Style becomes after salon hours close every evening will be a key feature of the salon.

“This a great alternative to the usual Collegetown bar scene, because once you get to Dunbar’s, I feel like it’s the end of the world of nightlife,” said Kristen Diver ’08.

Collegetown sake provider Miyake Japanese Cuisine is uneasy about another bar offering similar services directly across the street.

“To tell you the truth we don’t really feel good that there’s another establishment offering the same thing we are,” said Dana Lee ’05, manager of Miyake. “When any business comes to Collegetown, we feel like there’s another competition even if having a hair salon and bar together is awkward.”

City Style’s main business, styling hair, will have to overcome the scrutiny of doubting Cornell students and Collegetown residents who are use to the current discount- style salons in the area.

“Everyone talks crap about Collegetown hair places, so maybe this will be a distinguishing one,” Diver said.

Convincing potential new clients that City Style has superior hair services is something Jewel Flanigan, head stylist and co-owner of the salon, considers often.

“What will ultimately set us apart from other salons is the little something extra we provide to our mostly young clients,” Jewel said.

“We offer a quality experience to a community most businesses don’t take the time to cater to, and I want to treat them.”

Jonathan agrees.

“We want the glitz of the bar and lounge and other services to pull people in, but the quality of our work will speak for itself,” he said.

For a few Cornell men and women, City Style has a positive hair styling reputation, but for most the business remains an unknown part of the College Avenue landscape.

“I’ve been there, and they did a good job, but not many people know, so it’s great that they’re expanding and can give more Collegetown students a hair salon that’s more upscale,” said Jared Levan ’06.

Other students feel the new salon might be too posh for the gritty Collegetown atmosphere.

“I don’t know if I’d go there; it seems a bit too classy for me,” said Bobby Nitto ’08.

The Flanigans plan to maintain their family-run College Avenue location for an indefinite amount of time and are considering converting the smaller salon into a boutique in the future. City Style Hair Salon/Sake Bar is the second spa/bar hybrid of its kind. The first was Hotel Gansevoort’s G-Spa which opened February 2006 in New York. City Style is scheduled to open its new location the third week in October.