Open house welcomes community to view ‘gorgeous’ transformation of former restaurant to beauty studios
After 26 years of being cautious, solo beauty stylist Cheryl Fisher has decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Her new business, Wisteria Studios Inc., is open for business at 617 East Main St., Batavia.
“This is kind of a lifelong dream. I never really expected it to come to fruition,” Fisher said Wednesday at her site. “I got lucky, and I fell upon this building. I’m stepping outside my comfort zone. God has me in this place for a purpose.“
Fisher, an Alexander native and Batavia resident, is proud to show off her business during an open house Friday. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., beauty professionals are welcome to check it out, ask questions and obtain more information about renting one of the two available studios. Friends and family may then also browse the gray marble floor, silver, white and gray-themed decor and a splash of painted lavender accents from 7 to 9 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be part of the celebration, she said.
Fisher, a licensed cosmetologist, began her career with the late Joseph Gerace, who she credits for her success.
“I would not be where I am without him,” she said.
She was with Gerace for 10 years before operating a home salon for another eight years. Then life happened, and a divorce prompted her to move her beauty services in 2012 to a shack next to O’Lacy’s on School Street. Nine years later she spotted her next venture: the former Kentucky Fried Chicken-turned-auto shop-turned computer store on East Main Street.
Major renovations included a complete dig-out of the foundation via Bobcat, removal of the signature KFC cupola and other restaurant memorabilia left behind of the Colonel Sanders fame. Fisher wants to preserve the history of when the Lazarony family bought the building for KFC in 1963, and how it transformed into other businesses up to now.
Floor space of 2,000 square feet has been subdivided into four studios.
“It’s gorgeous. Hopefully it’s going to stay like that for a long time,” she said. “There’s a common waiting room, a break room, a corridor and each stylist renting a space will be behind closed doors.”
Her dream included a studio salon at which clients aren’t clustered next to each other during services. So the studios — fully equipped with storage cabinets, freestyle dryers, a shampoo station and styling chair — provide a comfortable and private environment for each client, Fisher said. Add to that amenities of on-site laundry, WiFi, garbage removal and snow plowing. She already has one tenant to offer Mary Kay products, facials and classes, and is looking to fill two more spaces with stylists, a barber or esthetician.
Supported by a silent partner, Fisher said this venture has been filled with challenges, from lack of supplies due to COVID-19 to not being able to do hands-on shopping for decor and accessories. She wasn’t certain of what to name the place, and came across some wallpaper with purple wisterias dripping down from ceiling to floor. She liked the color, and locked in her business name after reading a definition of wisteria: “a plant that never settles and never stops growing,” she said.
“The beauty industry is the same, it never settles and never stops growing. And that’s me,” she said. “I want (tenants) to come in, be happy, have fun and enjoy what they do. Everyone is their own entity, they all do their own thing. I’m looking forward to my own space, but having people in the building. I have put my lifetime investment into it.”
For more information, call 585-343-1247 or email w[email protected].
Stylist and business owner Cheryl Fisher works on a customer's hair at her new place, Wisteria Studios Inc. Photos by Jim Burns