Fairfield salon owner: Reopening stressful, worth it

FAIRFIELD — The first day of reopening has been busy and stressful for the the staff of a Fairfield salon, according to its owner.

Gabriella Travali DeStefano, the owner of Gavali Salon in Post Road, said her staff is still trying to adjust to the procedures laid out by the state.

“We have to have everyone fill out questionnaires and waivers,” Travali DeStefano said. “We have to check their temperature. We have to sanitize the station after each person comes in and leaves.”

Travali DeStefano said the extra time required to follow state regulations has made made a busy day busier.

“It’s definitely an adjustment,” she said.

The business owner said the salon is using 5 of the 8 stations it has in order to ensure clients are six feet apart.

She said customers seem really happy to be there, adding that nobody has had a problem with having to wait thus far.

“We made everybody aware that we are going to be making a lot of adjustments and (asked them) to please bear with us while we’re getting used to all the new regulations,” she said.

According to Travali DeStefano, the salon is almost fully booked for the next week, and even their newest stylists have full schedules.

Travali Destefano had just moved her business to its new location from Black Rock Turnpike when the pandemic started, she said, adding that they had only been in operation there from Feb. 24 to March 20.

“We were open for like three full weeks,” Travali DeStefano said. “That was it.”

Having put her life savings into the new location, Travali DeStefano said it was very stressful having to close it down because of coronavirus regulations.

“I put a lot of money into it, and I was preparing to pay back what I spent in the next few months (after) opening,” she said. “All of a sudden we were shut down, and it was very scary.”

Travali DeStefano said all of her employees had to apply for unemployment as soon as her business was shut down. She received a loan from the Small Business Administration, which helped, she said.

“We’ve been living off that for the past few weeks,” Travali DeStefano said. “Now that we’re open, it’ll be a lot easier to survive.”

Travali DeStefano said the salon had been selling a lot of hair coloring kits and gift certificates during the shutdown, but the income from that did not come close to covering costs.

She said it has been a hectic few months. She found out she was pregnant with her and her husband’s fourth child a week before they closed. Then, she said, her husband broke his hip and shoulder two weeks ago.

“It’s been really crazy,” she said. “(The shutdown has) almost like a blessing in disguise, because I feel like God was telling me to a take a step back and hang out with the family for a little bit. I work so much. I’m literally here all the time taking two to three customers at a time. So, I feel like it’s good for me to take a step back and soak it all up.”