MERIDEN — Catherine Stowik, owner of Catherine & Co., opened a salon in Meriden when she was 27 years old with three employees. Today she has two locations and over 15 employees.
What started as just a hair salon grew into a salon and spa offering facial waxes, manicures, pedicures, massages and facials among other things.
“Every six months to a year we had a new addition,” Stowik said. “We kept growing and growing. We do everything.”
On Friday, Stowik, her stylists and Mayor Kevin Scarpati gathered for a ribbon cutting to celebrate the business’s 25th anniversary. With the milestone approaching, Stowik recently branched out.
Almost two months ago, Stowik opened a second location in Westbrook, Catherine & Company II — A Shoreline Salon. In comparison to the original location, this salon only does full service hair services and facial waxing.
After her family moved to Westbrook six years ago, Stowik began meeting people that wanted her to do their hair. With the hour commute, Stowik started doing hair in her kitchen for her customers’ convenience.
Once the pandemic hit and the salon was closed for three months, Stowik noticed an empty space in the plaza near her home and knew it was time to expand.
“Something that I’ve learned is that there is no such thing as the perfect time,” Stowik said. “There’s no such thing as the perfect amount of money. You just have to trust your gut.”
Even though some people thought the hairdresser was crazy to open a new salon during the pandemic, Stowik said that the salon is doing great.
“I’m very excited I did it, a little bit scary, but it’s awesome,” Stowik said. “I’m getting to meet a whole new different clientele here on the shoreline. It’s totally different.”
Catherine & Company II, 1921 Boston Post Road, Westbrook, is open Tuesday-Saturday.
Catherine and Co., 710 E. Main St. Meriden, opened again in June. Stowik said the salon has never been so busy, serving more new customers after opening again than ever before.
“I feel very blessed because all our clients came back and all my staff came back,” Stowik said. “I’m blessed that we can take care of all these people and do so safely.”
Having staff members and clients who are like family is how Catherine Stowik said she has been able to stay in business so long. Most of her staff has been with Catherine & Co. for almost 20 years.
Rosanne Ford, president of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce, said she was looking forward to celebrating the anniversary of Catherine & Co.
“It certainly is a silver lining during these tough pandemic times that we’re in, that we’re able to support new businesses but more importantly this milestone for Catherine and her business,” Ford said. “Twenty-five years is an amazing feat for any business.”
Stowik said she is lucky to be one of the few people who wake up excited to get to work and truly love what they do.
“My business is my baby. It was my first child,” she said. “I spent 80 hours a week there before I had my children. I was there pretty much 24/7 to build it to what it is today.”