The Audubon District, which has struggled in recent years to secure stable businesses, is becoming a hub of “beauty, health and wellness,” University Associate Vice President and University Properties Director Abigail Rider said.
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The latest addition is Salon Ivanova, which celebrated its grand opening Friday. The salon, at 71 Audubon St., moved from the corner of Trumbull Street and Whitney Avenue, where it had been for four and a half years, and opened its doors Aug. 3. By opening service-oriented stores such as the salon, Yale officials said the store will provide convenient services to attract passersbys in addition to those who come to the neighborhood to visit its art facilities, such as the Neighborhood Music School and Education Center for the Arts.
Next month, Amadeus Health and Healing Center, a spa and another University Properties site, will open on Lincoln Way, off Audubon and across the street from the Neighborhood Music School.
Salon Ivanova, run by Lana Ramadanovic, a North Haven resident and wife of Matthew Ramadanovic, who works at the Yale Investments Office, offers hair styling, waxing, makeup application and nail care. The store is modern and ornate, filled with red and black leather furniture and sequin pillows and covered in wall decals of trees.
At the grand opening ceremony Friday morning, about 30 residents, workers and Yale staff were greeted with tables with raffles for treatments and homemade desserts made by Ramadanovic.
Ramadanovic noted that with the new location, the salon now offers more services and hopes to serve bridal affairs. The larger space contains a boutique with such products as hair irons, yoga equipment, sunglasses, clothing and wigs. She noted that she plans to work with Yale-New Haven Hospital to make wigs for children cancer patients.
“I will cut, style and color the wigs to fit them to their faces,” Ramadanovic said.
Since the 1960s, the Audubon district has been one of the main thoroughfares in and out of downtown. But the neighborhood has been plagued in recent months by empty lots.The problem, Audubon proprietors have said, is that the neighborhood is not designed to be a shopping area. Although there are several parking garages in the area, casual customers have few options for on-street parking, they added.
“Audubon Street is pretty dead, but it is the art center of New Haven and a beautiful street,” Ramadanovic said.
Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances “Bitsie” Clark, who lives above the salon, said the opening is the “most exciting thing” that has happened nearby in a few years. “I can come downstairs to get my toes done,” she said.