Popular stylist Christine Elliot works on a customer at Spa Elysium, 55 Bethlehem Pike, before the pandemic. “I have heard some rumors that the green phase may be happening around June 26,” said owner Wendy Feldman. “We will be ready whenever the date is. We can’t wait to see.”

by Len Lear

This is a good news/bad news story. The bad news is that Elvira “Ev” Aslanova, owner of Beehive Hair Salon, which had been doing great business for 11 years on 18th and Fairmount Avenue, recently had to close her business because of the pandemic, which was costing her $2,000 monthly in rent alone, with no money coming in.

The good news is that Aslanova, 43, is returning to Spa Elysium, 55 Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, where she was a popular hair stylist before leaving to start her own business.

“My staff and I were sad to hear about Ev closing her shop,” Wendy Feldman, owner of Spa Elysium, told us last week, “but we are thrilled that she is coming back to work with us at the spa. Everyone remained friends over the years, and she will be a great addition to our team.”

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to come back to the spa,” said Elvira. “I have missed my friends, with whom I never lost contact. I have missed my clients, and I have missed Chestnut Hill.”

Elvira came to the U.S. in 1991 from Azerbaijan, a former republic that was part of the Soviet Union. “We came under the status of refugees due to the genocide of Armenians in Azerbaijan that occurred in 1989,” she told us. “We came to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, first because that is where we had sponsors who were providing us with work and shelter and everything else we needed to start our lives in the U.S.”

Elvira went to college at first to get a degree in business but then decided to go back to school to become a cosmetologist, graduating in 2000. She then worked in Chestnut Hill for five years at Spa Elysium before starting The Beehive in the Art Museum area.
“For almost 11 years we had a great run there,” she said. “Year 2020 was supposed to be our best year yet, but then on the 16th of March we were ordered to shut down. It was a sad feeling on many levels. This country has given me everything I ever dreamed of, and now the coronavirus has taken it away.

“I had to make a decision to walk away from it based on the fact of uncertainty and potential debt accumulation. At the time my only priority and concern was to take care of my child and to make sure whatever decision I made would end up to be the best one for him. So I contacted Wendy Feldman, and she generously offered me my old position back at Spa Elysium.”

When asked what is the hardest thing she has ever done, Elvira said, “The hardest thing I have ever done was opening up my business and learning what it’s like to be the one in charge of people, clients, reputation and so forth. But the best advice I have ever received was: ‘Those who don’t take risks don’t drink champagne.’”

In April, Governor Tom Wolf unveiled a color-coded plan for the state to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. In this plan he broke it down by placing each county into a phase: red, yellow or green. In the green phase hair salons, gyms and other personal care services can open at 50% occupancy.

“We cannot believe we have been closed for this long and that we do not have a definite date we can open,” said Feldman, “although I have heard some rumors that green may be happening around the 26th. We will be ready whenever the date is. We can’t wait to see our clients; they are like family to us.”

Regarding the new requirements established by the Pa. State Board of Cosmetology, Feldman said, “We are very lucky because we have over 5000 square feet of space with lots of room to social distance and 60 feet of French doors that can be opened to let fresh air in.

“All of our stations are on wheels, so they can be moved six feet from each other. I have also been doing some renovations while we were closed. We got a new roof, new lighting in our color area and new floors in our spa and color area, among other things. We are also considering putting canopies up on the parking lot to do haircuts outside if a client prefers to stay outside.”

For more information, call 215-247-2007 or email elysium91@aol.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com