Skye’s Hampton Hair celebrates opening in former Main Street Haircutters in downtown Riverhead

When you walk into Skye’s Hampton Hair, a new beauty salon at 36 West Main St. in Riverhead, for a brief moment you step through history. Customers pass between two wooden panels surrounding the doorway, the only remnants left over from barbers Tony and Anthony Balzano, whose Mainstreet Haircutters prospered there for 62 years. “Once through the doorway, then you step into a new beginning,” said Dakota Skye Thilberg, the 31-year-old owner of Skye’s. 

The grey, white and black palette has transformed the space from a wood-paneled barbershop into a contemporary beauty salon with four stylist chairs, a mani-pedi area and lots of nail polish choices. The renovations took about two months beginning in January, when the Balzanos closed their business and Ms. Thilberg purchased the shop. She began looking for her own place last November after working in what she described as “cookie-cutter” high- and low-end hair salons in the Hamptons, and out of her home. “I walked in, took one look at the place and said this is it,” she recalled, adding that she felt the location was filled with years of creativity and good vibes.

The alterations required that everything be removed down to the studs. “I’m creating my own home here. It’s not your average salon; we’re not sea shells and glitter like other shops,” Ms. Thilberg said. “We want our customers to leave with fantastic hair.” She isn’t finished putting the final touches on her decor and plans to adorn the walls with images of some of her favorite musicians: Stevie Nicks, Snoop Dogg, Cher, Tupac and Led Zeppelin. “Music is important here — I can’t work if there’s no music on,” Ms. Thilberg said. “It gets the creative juices flowing.”

Ms. Thilberg, who lives in East Quogue, has a bubbly personality. “I’m about building relationships. The vibe and connections are what it’s about,” she said. “Be yourself and you will attract clients.” 

She believes she has created a salon that puts the skills of the stylists first and thinks her salon is creating a new culture on the East End. “I get very excited about my work,” she said. “When I hit one goal, I’m thinking what can I stress myself out with next? I’m into goal crushing.”

Ms. Thilberg has been a stylist for 14 years and she keeps educating herself about hair. “My advice is never think you’re the best. Be a nice wholesome person,” she said. Her clients range in age from the mid 20s to the 70s and she’s booked until July. “Many are moms who still want to look good.”

“I never turn my clients around in their chair to face the mirror until I’m finished,” she added. “That’s the best moment, when they see their hair, and it’s my favorite thing to wait until the end.”

A ribbon-cutting took place at the new salon April 24. Ms. Thilberg’s 4-year-old son, Luca, did the honors as family, the shop’s beauty professionals and members of the Town Board and Chamber of Commerce cheered him on. 

“It was an exciting moment and I got in at the perfect time because Riverhead is booming right now,” Ms. Thilberg said.