Mane Event, a hair salon in Byram, is closing its doors after operating on Mill Street for 26 years.
Barbara Finn, the salon owner, recently balked at a significant rent hike and plan to close on July 1, 2023.
The good news is that she found a new space to rent right around the corner at 20 North Water Street and expect to open there on July 6.
The salon’s phone number will remain the same, (203) 532-8072.
On Saturday Finn hosted a day-long farewell get-together with a lavish spread of home made goodies.
The salon filled with laughter and shared memories of Byram family and friends. Well, it seems everyone is a friend at Mane Event, which is a reflection of the friendly vibe that has contributed to the salon’s success.
Finn and Rosanne Pastore originally worked together in 1980’s at the now defunct Byram Coiffures, just a block to the east on Mill Street. Before opening Mane Event, Finn left Byram Coiffures to take care of her parents, but continued to do hair from home for a time.
As for the friendly vibe, Finn said friends constantly stop by during their travels for a chat or just to hang out.
“The neighborhood dogs come by and they give them treats,” Finn’s friend Nancy Natale said.
“Everybody says it’s like Steel Magnolias – everybody knows everybody,” Finn said.
“Her daughter and my son have been together since kindergarten, and they even went to the same college,” Natale said.
Lorraine Miller, one of the salon’s decades-long clients, said members of her friend group were all connected through Mane Event. “My husband calls us The Byram Beauties,” she said.
The salon offers cuts, color, blow-outs, Brazilian blowouts, highlights, and French braids.
“Curly hair is my specialty,” Finn said.
While the move off Mill Street represents the end of an era, Finn said she is thrilled to have found a space nearby, and to have her clients make the move with her.
“I have two clients from Byram who are 102 years old,” she said. “Both of them get a shampoo, cut and blow dry.”
Miller, who has known Finn for 36 years and became her client back when Finn did hair from her home, said said she admired the salon owners for their generosity, listing some of their many fundraisers over the years.
There was the time when Finn’s daughter Amanda was attending University of Delaware and was involved with the local Boys & Girls Club there. Barbara and Rosanne did a fundraiser in Byram to buy gifts for the children in Delaware, collecting $1300.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Barbara’s daughter is Amanda, a social worker at Greenwich High School who also advises the Greenwich Junior United Way who hosted the ‘Together We Shine’ prom-themed event for Abilis last month.
At Saturday’s farewell event, it seemed everyone knew each other. And for newbies, introductions involved two degrees of separation from Barbara and Roseann.
When Janus Sanchez stopped by, Barbara said, “I did his wife’s hair back in the 80s and then she told me she couldn’t come to me any more because her husband does hair. Now he works here one day a week.”
And while the friendly Byram vibe persists, Finn explained on Saturday that change had come to the neighborhood.
While Mane Event survived Covid, with rent and utilities paid for several months despite the salon being required to shut down, the recent rent hike was a deal breaker.
Beyond rent increases, the impact of the intense re-development of Port Chester’s Main Street with multi-story residential buildings was on everyone’s minds. The traffic back and forth between Port Chester and I-95 brings traffic to a halt at certain times of day.
Finn recalled how recently, 18-wheeler trucks, which are not supposed to traverse Mill Street to Port Chester from the highway, were unfortunately diverted onto a narrow Byram side street after a crash on Delavan Ave.
On Saturday, as flashing beacons signaled pedestrians at the active crosswalk, car after car drove straight through as two boys with scooters hesitated to cross.
Also, parking is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity. On Saturday the municipal lot behind Mill Street was full and cars idled while waiting for spots.
“The mom and pop businesses are getting squeezed out,” said Judy Piro, who manages the Sokol Club, a staple of Mill Street for a century. “It’s kind of sad.”
Rather than dwell on the negative, Finn, Pastore, Natale, Piro, Miller and their friends shared their collective memories of Byram, including the history of the buildings on Mill Street. In fact, this reporter first met Judy Piro and her family in 2015 at the St Paul’s Lutheran Church nostalgic Spaghetti Creole fundraiser, where the recipe originated in the kitchen at former old Byram School!
On the other side of Mill Street, Kevin Allmashy’s Executive Corner Deli is going strong after 18 years on the corner of Henry Street, but many still remember when it was The Corner Deli, operated for decades by Domenick DeFranco.
The building with the bell at the top was formerly the library and prior to that, it was the fire house.
The building that is now home to Rosina’s Restaurant had been home to That Little Italian Restaurant for decades, but even further back in time, it was home to Dutchers Bakery.
If anything is constant in Byram it is change.
In fact, according to Patricia Baiardi, over the decades Byram has been referred to as Lyonsville, Meadsville, New Lebanon, Hawthorne in 1892 and East Port Chester in 1905. In 1947, the RTM voted to make Byram the official name of the neighborhood. Long live Byram!