2012-12-14 / Community

Strands Hair Salon

Diane Liello and her two partners, Gerri Stansky and Sal Araimo, opened the doors of their salon April 1, 2004. Strands was (will be again) a very busy salon in the Rockaway community with a great reputation. Strands is a salon that always gave back to their community. One of Strands’ proudest, annual events was their contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project. It was always on a Friday in July when Strands’ stylists served the women behind the heroes; providing them with donated services from high-lites and color to cuts and blows and manicures. Diane, Gerri and Sal also participate in the annual fund raiser, St. Baldrick’s, to support the fight against children’s cancer.

Hurricane Sandy hit this beloved salon and it was completely destroyed. Diane, stylists and volunteers emptied the shop, putting everything on the curb, with broken hearts and tear filled eyes. Everything is gone from equipment to products and jewelry from their boutique. Without flood insurance, this is a tremendous financial loss. To make matters worse, bills are still due and payments expected.

This is an extremely emotional loss to Diane as well, who was born and raised in the Rockaways. It breaks her heart to see such devastation. Diane was displaced from her home for four weeks. She is grateful to have her home but her husband has a disability due to chronic Lyme disease that took thirteen years to diagnose while Strands was their main source of income. Strands was (and will again be) Diane’s pride and joy, she says. Gerri’s home in Breezy Point suffered a lot of damage. She had to obtain a temporary residence in Brooklyn. Sal, Diane’s other partner, had major surgery the night of the storm. He has a long recovery ahead.

Through all the adversity, Diane still has a lot to be thankful fo: Shannon O’Rourke, for starters, who through acquaintances, put Diane in contact with Leslie J. Price, a stylist from Schoharie, New York who donated equipment, furniture and products to help Strands get back on their feet. Leslie also went through the same hardships as Strands due to the devastation of Hurricane Irene. Diane says Team Rubicon also volunteered their services to help empty Strands. Diane is also thankful to Kenny and his staff, Salon Non Pareil, who opened their shop to Strands stylists to use until Strands is reopened. Last, but not least, Strands is most grateful to their wonderful clients and stylists for their loyalty and patience. Together they will make it through.

Leslie and Diane are donating their services to provide free haircuts to Hurricane Sandy victims and volunteers at the warming tent at St. Francis de Sales, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Belle Harbor, from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (may be extended if large turnout) on December 16. Call Tracy at 518-788-1810 with questions or to confirm times.

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