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Kay Gregory moves from Main Street in Northampton to Locust Street, combines hair services and gardening consulting



Monday, July 07, 2014
NORTHAMPTON — After running a hair salon on Main Street in Northampton for about eight years, Amherst resident Kay Gregory has moved her shop to Locust Street in a bigger space and with a new mission.

Gregory, who formerly owned and operated Firefly Salon, last week opened Kay Gregory: Beauty and Botanicals for the Modern World at 21 Locust St.

She said her new business provides not only hair services but also gardening consulting and soon will sell specialty products made from her own plants.

Gregory began plans to open her first business in Northampton, Firefly Salon, while still living in New York City. She moved to Northampton shortly before opening the salon, creating the space at 122 Main St. from the bottom up to meet her vision.

After seven years, Gregory said she was sent searching for a new home for the business when the landlord chose not to renew her lease.

“I thought at first of closing completely, to be honest, then I thought, ‘No this is a great opportunity,’ ” said Gregory, 45. She said new quarters at 21 Locust Street have more room, which means fewer limits.

In her new shop, Gregory said she has taken lessons she learned at Firefly and combined them with the gardening she learned while a student at the New York Botanical Gardens last winter.

Gregory said she has built the new salon to her liking faster and cheaper than she did with Firefly Salon. This time around, in about a week’s time, she turned the place around, painting and installing new floors and furniture.

“I had so much more help on this space,” she said. “I have so many wonderful friends who helped with just moving and support and getting the word out that I moved.”

In the shop’s first week of business, the only evidence of gardening consulting takes the form of a few plants standing near the entrance to the salon. But Gregory said she aims soon to hold forums and gardening classes in the new space.

She believes there is a strong link between gardening advice and her work as a hair stylist.

“I think that’s where I can be able to help people because they might have an idea of what they want it to look like, but don’t know quite the plan to get there,” she said.

Among the services she will offer are consultation and advice on what plants go where, how to work with existing plants and soils in the Pioneer Valley, and how to using garden space efficiently.

Gregory hopes to further incorporate gardening by installing raised plant beds between the reception counter and the cutting stations.

In addition, relying on these beds and the garden at her home on Mattoon Street in Amherst, Gregory said she aims to create soaps, oils, and other body-care products that she will sell at the shop. Gregory hopes to earn back on these products and through charging a fee she has yet to set for gardening classes.

Florence resident Dalila Gomes, who frequently visited Firefly, stopped by Gregory’s new shop Wednesday morning just to say hello. She said she comes back because she believes Gregory offers more than just a haircut.

“She’s not just a person who is good with hair, she just has this amazing personality and she’s very engaging and she cares about what she does,” Gomes said.

Meanwhile, Gregory said her love for engaging with the community has kept her going in opening her new shop.