Massapequa

An Enviable Salon Biz

There’s something to be said about a strong, determined woman running her very own business — but when two of them decide to join forces, you’d better look out.

Such is the case of Envy Me, a fashionable hair salon that has been primping the men and women of the Massapequas since it opened its doors in October of 2012. Located at 1306A Hicksville Rd. in the Marshall’s shopping center, Envy Me handles pretty much any treatment you’d care to mention, including hair coloring, manicures and pedicures, Brazilian Keratin treatments, waxing, and more…except for nails, owner Joann Betz said.

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Joann Betz (left) runs Envy Me with Gail Agostinacchio.
(Photos by Chris Boyle)

Joann Betz has been into hair for as long as she can remember; right after high school she went to beauty school, and from there she entered right into the field, eventually working at a salon in her native Queens and later purchasing it. After moving to Massapequa about 12 years ago, she sold off the Queens salon and purchased one in East Meadow. However, she later decided to invoke another change to be closer to home, she said.

“I wanted to be closer to my kids’ school district as they were getting ready to go to middle school, so I sold the one in East Meadow,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be in the Massapequa area, but when I discovered this shop I wasn’t actively looking at the time. But I’m a big stickler for location, and I’m in the Marshall’s shopping center at least four times a week, and my friend and I noticed that this store was empty. So, we came to look at it, and the ball rolled from there.”

Envy Me opened one month before Superstorm Sandy hit the Massapequa area. This, Betz said, made things difficult in the early going. However, once things settled down the pieces of her new business began to fall into place.

“Things really began to pick up after that,” she said. “I was already known in the area from my friends spreading the word, and my clientele had followed me over from East Meadow and even Queens, and just being in this shopping center alone…there’s so much foot traffic here. It’s a great area.”

Despite the fact that the two businesses are in full view of each other right from their front doors, the story was quite decisively different across Hicksville Road at long-time Massapequa hair salon Impulse Haircutters, located in the Waldbaum’s shopping center.

Impulse was a family-run business owned and operated by Gail Agostinacchio of Wantagh. The salon was first opened back in April of 1985 by her father, John, an Italian immigrant who had been cutting hair in Queens for 25 years prior. Agostinacchio herself had been working at Impulse since her teenage years.

Agostinacchio’s father retired and offered her daughter the establishment; an offer she turned down because she was busy raising her young children. But after the salon changed hands with another owner, Agostinacchio eventually took it over in 2008, gave it a fresh, updated look, and proceeded to carry on her father’s legacy.

However, the business climate in Impulse’s vicinity quickly began to change; despite being only across the street from the hustle and bustle of the Marshall’s shopping center, Agostinacchio noted that the action by her appeared to be winding down.

“The shopping center changed for the worse over the years,” she said. “First Country Kitchen closed, then Mandee’s, so all the foot traffic just completely dried up. Plus my landlord was very difficult to work with…he was very restrictive and uncooperative. Towards the end things got so bad that I was actually taking money out of my own savings to pay the rent, and when my lease was up, I decided it was time to close up. It was a hard decision, but it was the right one for myself and my family.”

Around the time that Agostinacchio was making her painful choice, Betz came into work one day and noticed a message from someone looking for a job.

“I knew Gail from her great reputation around the neighborhood, but I had never met her before,” she said. “She told me that she was considering closing her salon, and that she wanted to come over to my place with a few of her employees…I was so surprised at the situation, but when I met her I knew instantly that she was someone that I would be able to work with.”

Betz noted that combining Impulse’s staff with her own created the best of both worlds. Instead of a rivalry, a partnership formed out of the coupling which boasted a new level of business for all involved.

“It could have blown up in our faces, or been smooth sailing,” she said. “Luckily, it was smooth sailing. This was probably the most perfect match out of the entire scenario…Gail has brought complete life to this salon.”

Turning Envy Me into the success that it is today was been a dream come true, Betz said.

“This is probably my most precious accomplishment, because this type of store is something that I’ve always aspired to,” she said. “My other stores were more low-end, and I had taken them over from their previous owners. But this is more of a high-end salon, and I built it on my own…I didn’t take it over from anyone, which makes it so much more satisfying.”

Check out Envy Me’s website at www.envymesaloninc.com.