MERIDEN — Ellen Parks moved her business to her fourth location in the city last month to what she calls “a palace.”
Parks and her 15-year-old business, Dynamic Hair Salon & Beauty Supply, is the newest tenant to occupy space in Meriden Commons I on State Street. Her mother, Melody Gilbert, is opening Dynamic Fashions next door.
“I went for it because I dreamt about it,” Parks said as she finished a customer’s hair. The store sells hair and beauty products, including wigs, extensions, braids, jewelry, face masks, and some clothing. The spacious salon is in the rear.
Parks began her business at 531 Broad St. in a tiny space in a corner. She later moved to 88 E. Main St., where she serviced her clients until she was forced to leave when a rear wall collapsed. She later found a home at 249 W. Main St.
Pennrose Properties had a deal with a barber and offered her the smaller spot next door, but she declined. The deal fell through and Parks got her wish.
The location is on the first floor of the 75-unit apartment building, next to the Meriden Green and near the bus and train stations. There are an additional 76 townhouses at Meriden Commons II.
“I’m blessed to be here,” she said.
The ongoing pandemic and subsequent shutdown meant more time to move and organize stock. The store opened several weeks ago, but there is still a need for social distancing and caution.
Dynamic Hair is the second tenant to fill 5,000 square feet in the newly-built Meriden
Commons. Pennrose recently signed a lease with Hot and Tasty and KK Chicken to open a deli and chicken eatery across from the Green. H&T Deli is expecting a ribbon-cutting next week.
“We’re already seeing people go there and come here,” said owner Taha Altareb. “They’re nice people. They get their hair done, get hungry.”
City officials were pleased to see new tenants at Meriden Commons.
“I am very excited to see the commercial space in the Commons fill up,” said City Economic Development Director Joe Feest. “The Pennrose group has time and again stepped up and worked with potential tenants.”
Pennrose management made modifications to the building to allow a grease trap for the eatery and other investments to attract new businesses.
The city aimed to spur economic development in the Transit-Oriented District, touting access to the train station as a key feature for residents and business owners. But the pandemic has dramatically curtailed the use of public transportation and trends are showing shifts away from cities. But that hasn’t deterred city officials, and occupancy rates in the new construction remains high.
“I think we are still a great community to live in and even with the ridership down on the train due to the pandemic, our central location is one of our strongest assets for TOD living,” Feest said.
“Meriden is building little by little,” Parks said. “Pandemic or no pandemic.”