MERIDEN — Denny Norwood was working at a West Haven hair salon and decided she wanted to open her own business.
She visited Meriden and liked the community. In 2006, Norwood purchased a house at 614 W. Main St. and transformed it into Romy’s Beauty Salon.
“I didn’t know if it was going to work,” she said.
Today, Norwood is thankful. Her business has continued to prosper, even through the pandemic.
“They welcomed me, they accepted me,” she said of the community.
Romy's Beauty Salon offers services including coloring, cuts, relaxers, deep conditioning and keratin treatments. Services are offered by appointment on Wednesdays and the salon is closed on Sunday. The rest of the week walk-ins are welcome from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The name of the salon comes from Norwood’s nickname, Romy. Her maiden name Romely.
Norwood, 46, recalled that when she was growing up in the Dominican Republic, her family and neighbors did each other's hair all the time. A runway model in the Dominican Republic, she said owning a salon wasn’t precisely her dream but when she immigrated to the United States in 1998, the hair skills came in handy. She began working at a salon in the Bronx, washing hair and cleaning up.
“I started like that and little by little I advanced, I progressed, until I finally opened my own business,” Norwood said.
Norwood left modeling when she came to the U.S. because she had to focus on working to help her family. They now live in Cheshire.Hair trends
Norwood said 90% of her clients are Black.
She explained that in the past, relaxers were very popular, but women are now getting botox and keratin treatments instead. Some women are leaving all of those processes behind and embracing their natural curls. Norwood mentioned there is a specific “curly cut” used on clients. She said the same results can be achieved by cutting hair in layers. She prefers doing it this way as it gives clients the option of having an appropriate style in case they want to straighten their hair for a special occasion.
Norwood said part of the reason women now prefer curly styles is that some straightening treatments have chemicals that can be harmful over time. Norwood said that using a curly or straight hair style is a personal decision but added curly hair requires more care and can be expensive because of the amount of products used to style curls.
Jorge Cameron, of Meriden, is temporarily working at Romy's Beauty Salon while he transitions into opening his own salon in Middletown.
Cameron wanted to learn more about ethnic hair and styles.
“I always wanted to expand my horizons when it came to doing hair, which is the reason why I joined a salon instead of a barbershop, because I come from a barbershop background,” he said.
It is the second salon Cameron has worked at. He said his mother and friends have been clients of the business.
“I knew I could learn from her,” Cameron said. “She took me with open arms and I appreciate that about her. I look at her as a role model when it comes to doing hair and managing a business.”
For more information about the salon or to make an appointment, call 203-630-0000.
Reporter Karla Santos can be reached at email@example.com.