Salon Elixir brings modern vibes to Lake Street; grand opening scheduled for Aug. 27 | Local News

ST. ALBANS — Salon Elixir has arrived in downtown St. Albans, and business owner Jessica Pelkey is hoping to bring a new vibe to Lake Street.

“I want people to feel like they just walked into a city boutique,” she said, surrounded by racks of specialty hand-crafted goods, clothes and accessories. 

Pelkey has created a modern salon out of what had once been an empty storefront. She knew the rehab would need to be extensive, but she grabbed the space anyway after realizing she wanted to be a part of downtown St. Albans. 

Salon Elixir’s first iteration operated in Swanton since 2012. 

Now settled in the city, Pelkey is filling her new space with a broad range of items and fashions she’s personally picked out.

Pelkey said she’s often on the lookout for unique items sourced from family- or women-owned businesses to make up her inventory. As a result, there’s almost a constant reshuffling of different products.

Consequently, anyone who purchases items at her store will leave with a one-of-a-kind item. If customers pair the purchase with the salon’s beauty treatment services, the visit can become an entire style update for Pelkey’s clients.

Salon Elixir offers salon services for hair and makeup as well as spa and tanning services. By September, the boutique salon will also have a nail technician on board, Pelkey said. 

Practicing her trade

Pelkey grew up in Swanton among stylists and was supported by her family, such as her mother Linda Pelkey, and aunts, Mary Beaulieu and Jewels Berry, but like many young people in Vermont, she left to go see the world after graduation.

Pelkey spent her first decade working as a stylist out in Orange County, California, to practice and perfect her work. She eventually came back to Swanton to set up her own shop, but she always wanted to keep some of that big city flair in her approach by tracking the ongoing hair trends that often take time to reach rural areas.

She encourages her hairstylists to do the same to make sure they’re able to be ahead of the curve. Otherwise, styles can get stale over time.

Gabrielle Elwood, who’s worked with Pelkey for the last eight years, said she’s learned a lot from that approach.

“You have to be able to change with the trends,” Elwood said. “But hair also needs to fit with a person’s lifestyle. My favorite part is listening to people.”

This time around, Pelkey is bringing that expertise to St. Albans. She already has a full clientele comfortable making the trip to downtown St. Albans, and her new location works well to attract travelers who may be using the Hampton Inn across the street.

But the salon could grow more. To round out the staff, she’s looking for two hairstylists – who will work as independent contractors –  go bring in even more customers.

Looking ahead

Eventually, Pelkey said she’d like to use the new place in St. Albans to coordinate and collaborate with other business owners in the area. After watching Kingman Fest play out, she’s already connected with the event’s organizer, Lauren Warshofsky, to start looking at potential events for Salon Elixir, such as pop-up artist events, classes and meetups as well as private catered and shopping events.

“One of the things that can evolve out of a brick and mortar shop is community,” Pelkey said.

Pelkey would also like to reinstate the bi-annual Arts Love & Fashion Show, which raises money for local causes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser had been put on hold.

Pelkey’s plans also expand into the empty space next door. Pelkey didn’t want to reveal too much about those plans, but they should complement what’s available through Salon Elixir.

Goods that can be found at Salon Elixir include candies, jewelry, wedding gifts, unique bridesmaid dresses, unisex T-shirts, fashion accessories, shoes, scents and a full-line of beauty and haircare products under the Elixir Essential brand.

To introduce the store to the community, Pelkey is planning to hold a grand-opening of Salon Elixir from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 27, at its location, 20 Lake St.