Nail salon and spa joins growing list of Hispanic-owned downtown businesses

Merary Rodriguez’s journey from working out of her car and knocking on the doors of Riverhead residents offering her services as a cosmetologist, to owning the town’s newest nail salon and spa was a difficult but fulfilling one.

“This was one of my goals and dreams,” she said. “When I achieved this, I said [to myself] I did it! I spent three years saving money to be able to make this dream possible,” she said.

Merary’s Nails and Spa is located at 49 East Main St. in Riverhead. The salon offer a wide variety of services ranging from gel, regular and acrylic manicures and pedicures to facials, lash extensions and brow tinting. They also offer relaxing massages and fat burning massages as well.

Four years after moving to Riverhead from her native Honduras with her 10-year-old daughter, Ms. Rodriguez opened her salon last fall.

She currently has six employees, three full-time and three part-time.

The salon and spa also doubles as a classroom. On Sundays from 9am through 3pm, Ms. Rodriguez hosts courses for those interested in learning about cosmetology.

Students pay $1000 for a kit that has all the materials needed for the class. Ms. Rodriguez currently has eight students. The courses are held in modules that specialize in the technicalities of doing nails, hair and more. The modules are each one month long. She said she is not currently accepting new students, but plans on accepting them for a hair course in July and a nail course in September.

For more information, call 631-591-0970 or email [email protected].

“There are people that do this for the business, but I do this out of my heart,” she said. “I do this because I like seeing people succeed.”

Ms. Rodriguez’s business is one of four new Hispanic-owned businesses adorning Riverhead’s downtown.

La Perla Restaurant and Bar opened in mid-January at 65 East Main St., a space previously occupied by Pera Bell Food Bar. Owned by Gabriela Montoya, the restaurant and bar offers Latin classics like tacos and pupusas as well as seafood and Italian food.

Victoria’s Helado opened in mid-March at 37 East Main St. in the space which previously housed the frozen yogurt shop Sweet Tart. Owned by Cristobal and Marleny Espinoza, Victoria’s offers fresas con crema or strawberries and cream, frozen yogurt, fresh fruit salads and more.

Mexicandy will be operating out of 221 East Main St. Owned by Chris Aguilar, this shop is in the final stages of preparation to open. Mexicandy will offer mangonadas, aguas frescas, ice pops and more. Although there’s no set opening date yet, Mr. Aguilar told News-Review in a recent interview, he hopes to open by Memorial Day.

Other Hispanic-owned businesses that recently opened in town include:

Café Victoria opened last July in Riverhead’s Tanger Outlets. It is owned by Alexander Escobar and his partner Monserrat Ruiz. They offer a broad variety of their house made coffee drinks, which can be enjoyed hot or cold as well as sweet treats such as muffins and cookies.

Larry’s Barbershop which opened this past month and is operating in the space that used to be Edwards Sports Center. The business is owned by Larry De La Cruz.