BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Local hair stylist, Sheila Quelch, who has worked locally at Boccaccio’s Hair Salon since the late ’80s, recently purchased the business in April from owner Lori Brown. Lori originally opened the Green Street salon in 1989 and also owns a second Boccaccio’s salon in Springfield. The newly remodeled salon is open and now called Boccaccio’s & Cason’s Corner.
“I started working for Lori in 1989 and was her first employee,” Sheila said in a recent interview. “I did take my own business adventure [co-owning another salon] for a four-year period, but then went back where I belong and have now worked with Lori for 28 years!”
As with so many other businesses in the last year, Boccaccio’s had been hit hard by the pandemic, losing some employees and customers to Covid-19 protocols. This caused Lori to consider closing the Bellows Falls location earlier this year. “After Covid hit and things changed, I lost most of the staff I had started with and decided it was probably time to close the Bellows Falls location and consolidate everything,” Lori said.
“But Sheila has always been my friend and cheerleader and kept saying that we are ‘Boccaccio’s strong and we will be fine’… and sure enough, we figured out a way.”
Sheila has a longtime, loyal clientele, but wondered whether some would travel to the salon in Springfield. Then Lori approached her with the idea of taking over the Bellows Falls location.
“I have a lot of emotional attachment here and felt I needed to find a way to keep the Boccaccio’s in Bellows Falls from closing, so I took over ownership in April,” Sheila said. “Every girl has her own idea for a ‘dream salon’ and I wanted my salon to also be a nice place for children to get their haircuts, instead of just a little corner in the shop.”
And with a very important reason.
Three years ago, Sheila’s grandson, Cason, suffered a severe brain injury. This has affected his ability to sit still and to tolerate noise. So, a simple task such as getting a haircut can be very challenging for him.
“I was motivated to look for equipment to accommodate Cason and other children with disabilities, such as autism. I found some quieter clippers and blow dryers, things that might help make the experience easier for kids.”
The transformation of the salon is impressive as the main room was opened up and divided to include an “adult area” and a “children’s area.” A manicure and pedicure nook was also created on the adult side, with new doors, windows, flooring, and shelving also being added.
“Cason’s Corner features a special Mickey Mouse ‘roadster racing chair’ and colorful wall murals,” Sheila added. “The outcome has been amazing, and my ‘dream salon’ has come to life! I want to thank Mike Todd and Margaret Forrest for all their hard work in helping me remodel, but most of all, many thanks to Lori Brown. Lori originally gave me an opportunity, always believed in me, and is instrumental in this new opportunity I now have.”
Boccaccio’s & Cason’s Corner is located at 56 Green St., in Bellows Falls, and the hours are Monday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, call 802-463-4495.