293 East: Great Salon Gets A Makeover

As beauticians with a passion for hair color, Shannon Dery and Jen Sollenne are used to helping people reinvent themselves, through fresh new looks.

Now they’ve done the same for their business.

In a town awash in salons, Rick Garcia’s stood head and shoulders above most. From its opening in 1990, the Playhouse Square shop enjoyed a devoted clientele.

“He was so much fun,” says Shannon. “There was a lot of buzz. It was a cool Westport place to be. We all felt like family.”

She and Jen both joined Rick in the 1990s. “He was great about bringing in young people, and training them,” Jen notes.

Jen Sollenne and Shannon Dery.

Rick died of cancer in 2011. at 64. His son Justin took over, and managed it for 8 years.

When the lease was up last summer, he told Shannon and Jen he was moving out of the area.

They looked at each other. Neither wanted to work for a new owner. After more than 2 decades together, they knew what the other was thinking.

“We had a dream,” Shannon says. “We wanted to keep this place going, and keep everyone together.” Many of the staff had been there for years. “But we wanted to update it with a new look too.”

The goal was to keep the salon’s “comfortable, casual, clean” vibe. They also hoped to make it feel “coastal.”

The leasing agent was all in.

The women went to work. They called in favors. They must have a great reputation: Construction finished ahead of schedule.

New look for a beloved salon.

Plank flooring has been laid over the old black and white tile. There’s a redesigned waiting area. Walls and décor are new; so are the sinks, smocks and coffee maker.

Even the name is new. “Salon 293 East” — for 293 Post Road East, the official address — sounds welcoming to all, Jen and Shannon say. It’s fresh too.

293 East opened in September. But they’ve waited till now to have a grand opening.

It was — of course — fun and lively. Longtime customers came. So did Playhouse Square neighbors.

“It’s one-stop shopping here,” Jen says. “We have fitness, food and retail.” Clients patronize those shops too, before or after getting their hair done.

And there’s nothing like having a postal clerk compliment you on your new hairstyle or color.

9 responses to “293 East: Great Salon Gets A Makeover

  1. Congratulations to Jen and Shannon!
    I’ve been a client/friend since 1991!
    (Jen was 10.)

  2. All the best to Jen & Shannon. I have been a client for 24 years. Originally of the beloved Rick Garcia, and for many years since of Lidka. For Jen, Shannon, Jessica and the rest, I hope to be with you forever.

  3. Judy Kelhoffer

    Congratulations to both girls! I was a client/friend for many years. You can be sure that Rick very proud:)

  4. Love this salon and all the people. I started with Rick way back in the beginning too – and I just think the world of the whole staff. Congrats to Jen and Shannon!

  5. Congrats guys!

  6. Congratulations to Shannon and Jen! Everyone here is so welcoming and friendly and extremely talented at what they do – they care about you and want you to look great and you will!

  7. Linda D Moller

    The best to you in your Salon that looks just FABULOUS! Many happy years to you as you begin this new chapter at Salon 293 East.

  8. Carol Moller Bermingham

    Beautiful! Congratulations! Best of Luck to you.

    Cousin Carol in the country.

  9. Love it. Shannon and Jen are great. I’ve been going here for eight years. They are the best.