SCHENECTADY — A downtown hair stylist is doubling down on curly hair, opening a barber shop around the corner from his hair salon.
The move is a return to the beginning for Ron Suriano II, who first opened his Moisture Salon in 2013 in rented space at 140 Clinton St., then bought 158 Barrett St. and moved his business there.
On Tuesday, he’ll open the Clinton Street Groomery in the same rented space that once held Moisture.
It’s a convenient setup for Suriano, as the two storefronts are perhaps 200 feet apart. But more important, Moisture has a mostly female clientele.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to do a barbery, a groomery, is I realized that there was something missing — the men’s market.”
Services such as neck shaves and precision clipper cuts will naturally attract a male clientele, though Suriano said women with short hair also will be well-served there, just as he has long-haired male clients at Moisture.
There are techniques and knowledge specific to cutting and styling curly hair that Suriano has studied and teaches, starting with how not to make it go frizzy. These form the basis of his business.
“We specialize in curly hair here. That’s all we do here,” he said, sitting in Moisture one morning in mid-November. “We’re going to emphasize on curly hair over there, as well.”
Suriano holds a culinary degree and previously worked in restaurants, but he’s also worked in multiple other fields, including jewelry design, construction and hospital administration.
A dozen years ago, at age 40, he started apprenticing at a New York City salon and found his calling.
“This is the longest job I’ve ever held in my whole life,” he said. With his investment of time and capital, he expects hair styling will be the career he sticks with for the rest of his working life.
And curly hair is his specialty, as a student and as a teacher. There’s too little emphasis in the industry on how to care for it, he believes, given that so much of the world’s population has curly hair.
Suriano shares his space with an avatar of sorts for his commitment to curls — Cee Cee, the goldendoodle who greets visitors to Moisture. Her name comes from the 2C type of curly human hair, and she’s got an impressive set of curls of her own.
Suriano has brought on a former Moisture intern, Niki James, to cut hair in the Groomery, and will divide his own time between his two businesses.
It’s a very short walk between the two, and an even shorter commute to home: He lives upstairs from Moisture.
The Rotterdam native enjoys living downtown, and works to make it a better place, from new dog waste stations to advocating for improved safety and security.
“We’re doing this downtown initiative so we can live a healthier and better life,” Suriano said. “There’s more people living downtown. There’s a lot more residential. So we need to beef up the community with awareness.”