We haven’t polled every business owner in downtown Bay Shore, but we’re willing to say 21-year-old Rikki Dimitriadis is among the youngest.
Dimitriadis, who lives in Plainview, got the keys to the old Salon Astarte in March and began renovating the place right away — yet keeping it operating during much of that time.
She was working as a stylist in Huntington Village when a family friend who had owned Salon Astarte called and asked if she would be willing to take over.
In a short time, Dimitriadis was operating her own company.
“Everyone thinks I’m out of my mind,” she said.
Something she was quick to do before heading to Bay shore was recruit some trusted friends to help.
One of those friends is Michelle Toscano. Also a master stylist, Toscano was working in the city and commuting from Mineola when she got a call from an excited Dimitriadis this winter.
The two women — who had attended Paul Mitchell together in Garden City — had long talked about running their own salon.
But neither of them imagined it would happen so quickly.
“I called her and said, ‘Listen, Michelle, our dream actually happened. Are you coming with me?’”
Toscano didn’t need much convincing.
“I just had to say yes; I couldn’t say no,” she said. “It was such a great opportunity and I knew working with her would be so much fun. We had such a good time in beauty school.”
The move also rescued Toscano from her life on the Long Island Rail Road.
“I was practically living on the train,” she said.
Dimitriadis’ father’s company, Woodmotif Cabinetry Inc. of Hempstead, worked on the salon’s physical makeover.
“My favorite color is pink, and this is what my dad does, so I told him to literally just have fun,” said Dimitriadis, who gave greaterbayshore.com a tour of the salon last week.
“When she told me about the designs, and knowing pink is her favorite color, I was so happy,” Toscano said.
Dimitriadis also recruited another young woman in the industry, Jennifer Redding, 24, of Huntington, to manage the salon.
Dimitriadis said her philosophy of running a business boils down to setting a calm, positive tone for the team.
Of course, much of that starts with keeping her own stress levels in mind.
“The hard part is managing everything and making sure that I don’t get overwhelmed,” she said. “I have points where I’ll freak out, but I know that I really have to keep everything calm and just make everything happy for the girls.”
And that, she said, translates into happy customers.
“We’ve retained probably every person I’ve done so far,” she said.