Business is investing $500,000 in new project, which will include hydrapool, solarium, Vichy shower treatments, steam room, saunas, relaxation room and other amenities
By Stefan Yablonski
Tonia Reed plies her trade in her salon as the ever-present Boston terrier, Marv, wanders about greeting the customers.
Reed was born and raised in Oswego; graduating from Oswego High School and Oswego County BOCES.
“I graduated in 1992 with my cosmetology license. At the age of 17, I started my career doing what I love — doing hair,” she said.
She moved to Syracuse for a few years “perfecting my skill and learning from many talented stylists.”
Eventually, she moved back to the Port City and worked at JCPenney hair salon.
On her own
“In February 1999, I opened my very first salon; this was the start of In Vogue Salon & Spa. It was a very modest two-station salon,” she said. “I worked with other stylists who rented a booth from me. When I first opened in 2004, start-up costs were about $175,000 building and fixtures and renovations.”
She received a micro loan for $15,000 from the Oswego Community Development Office. “They offered classes then and I took a class; they held it once a week for like six weeks I believe,” she said. “So long ago I can’t remember exactly how long the class was. I remember it being at night. So I would go to the class after working.”
Her business was growing. A friend mentioned that the house [where the business is located now — 62 W Bridge St.] was for sale and that it would make a great place for a salon.
“That’s all it took and I was making big plans to open up my new salon in a new location,” she said. “So in August of 2004 I opened In Vogue Salon & Spa. This location is 20 years; but I’ve been in business for 25.”
They started with five stylist stations plus one manicure and one pedicure chair, a facial room and one massage room.
One of her original stylists is still with her today.
“Stacy Smith started as our receptionist, but had expressed a desire to go to cosmetology school and within a year she was working as a stylist,” Reed explained. “Twenty years later and she is a huge asset and helps manage the business. She has stuck by me through thick and thin.”
Moving into the West Bridge Street site allowed Reed “to offer the city of Oswego a place to get all beauty and spa services all in one location.”
Twenty years ago, “In Vogue was the only place like this in our town,” she said. “After several years, we expanded our manicure and pedicure room by enclosing the side porch and making a beautiful spa room.”
In 2022, they needed to expand their stylist area. By adding two more stations and an extra shampoo chair and color bar, they could accommodate their ever-growing clientele, she added.
“Currently, we have nine employees including myself. Our salon and spa offers new stylists the opportunity to get started and grow their clientele,” she said. “Most salons in Oswego are booth rentals, so we offer a way for them to get started without a lot of risk or cost to them to get started and a place to have a career.”
After 20 of years of growing, they have outgrown the space, Reed said.
“What I’m doing now, it’s not exactly expanding — I’m purchasing the building next door. That building is going to be our day spa area,” she said. “So coming in 2024 we have purchased the building next door — formerly known as Mother Earth Baby — and will be having all our day spa treatments in this location.”
The expansion will be the first of its kind in Oswego, according to Reed.
“In the back we’re going to build an addition and put in a hydrapool. It’s going to be pretty cool. The new facility will offer state-of-the-art treatments that will include a solarium (with the hydrapool) for guests and Vichy shower treatments will be on the service menu that can be added to any massage or body treatment. The Vichy showers actually give you a massage and help to rinse off your products from body treatments and stuff like that,” she explained.
“Our couples treatment room will be perfect for a peaceful getaway or a romantic retreat for two,” she added.
Other amenities will include: steam room, saunas, relaxation room, showers with complimentary toiletries, lockers, robes and sandals.
The refreshments menu will include: fruit-infused water, coffee, teas, fruit, nuts and much more.
The new expansion will be possible with the assistance of funding provided by Fulton Savings Bank to purchase the property and Operation Oswego County, Inc. to aide with the renovation costs, she said.
The upstairs will be converted into an Airbnb for clients who may be getting married and would like to stay the night with their bridesmaids or a girls’ getaway weekend or a romantic getaway. They will offer a discount to any guest who stays in the Airbnb and day passes to come and enjoy In Vogue’s amenities.
The new project will cost roughly $500,000 — building, renovations, equipment and supplies, funded by loans from Fulton Savings Bank, Operation Oswego County and personal funds, she said.
“I should have the house by the end of December and then the contractors will come in and go to work. We’ll have side-by-side Victorians,” she said. “Our opening is slated for summer 2024 and will mark our 25 years in business.”