GARDNER — There’s a new vibe in the air downtown.
The Vibe Studio hair salon, open since March 2020, celebrated its official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, June 6.
Surrounded by city officials and colleagues, owner Eric DeJackome borrowed a pair of oversized, non-salon regulation scissors from the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce to cut the ribbon outside his studio at 33 Pleasant Street.
DeJackome said he is grateful for all the support the community has shown him since he opened his business in the former Gardner Co-Operative Bank building. He said it was a challenge to establish his new business at the height of the pandemic shutdown, but he had no doubts he could make it work.
“It was slow at first because there were only four of us (stylists), but now, including me, there are nine of us – eight stylists and (Ryan Akin) our massage therapist,” DeJackome explained, adding that he was not quite finished building his business. “I definitely have room for more stylists.”
Stylist Denise Cerrati also offers a yoga class at the salon every Sunday, he added.
DeJackome said he would eventually like to provide additional services, including eyelashes, nails and skin care.
“I really want to bring anything that would benefit the region, especially like the things you can’t move here,” he said. “I just want to bring more to the community, more to the city. I really want this (living room) to be its own little hub and have all kinds of things happening here.
DeJackome said he was happy to be the latest business in recent months to officially open in the city. He said one of his goals when he opened two years ago was to show that businesses could be successful in the city centre.
“I want to be one of the reasons this city comes back to life, and I feel like it only takes one step to get there, one person to set the trend,” he explained. “And I was hoping to do that when I got this place.”
Jessica DeRoy, the city’s director of economic development, said she appreciates that DeJackome had the confidence to open her business during the pandemic.
“(The show) survived, then thrived, and we’re here to help them celebrate,” she said.
State Representative Jonathon Zlotnik, D-Gardner, said the success of Vibe Studio was an indication that the city’s downtown was in an economic recovery. He said another sign that things were headed in the right direction was the amount of building and renovation activity he saw on his short walk from City Hall.
“I saw buildings with scaffolding, a few more with people in hard hats coming in and out – I think that shows the amount of investment and new business activity, and reinvigorated business activity, going on in the town of Gardner, especially downtown,” Zlotnik said.
Mayor Michael Nicholson said the grand opening of another successful business in the city’s downtown shows that real economic progress is being made in the area.
“This is the seventh ribbon cutting we’ve had this year at Gardner alone, and although Vibe has been here for a while, they opened during the pandemic and just couldn’t have their official ribbon cutting. so far, and it just shows the resilience of this company,” Nicholson said.