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At 23 years old, Sam Paladino had already lived a pretty colorful life. He’d earned his master barber’s license at 13 and opened his own barbershop at 14. He’d spent three and a half years fighting through the jungles of China, Burma and India as one of Merrill’s Marauders during World War II. He’d returned home to earn his cosmetology license and get married. But even having done all this, it wasn’t until 1947 that Sam Paladino created what would become his legacy: Dorian’s Salon.
This year, Dorian’s celebrates its 70th anniversary. The salon, which is located at 308 N. Main St. in downtown Jamestown, is run these days by Paladino’s daughters, Debbie Gullo and Kandy Lombardo. It continues to live up to Paladino’s original vision of a full salon, offering extensive beauty services covering everything from eyelashes, to makeup, to hair. But Nichole Mason, granddaughter of Paladino and fellow Dorian’s beautician, says that the salon is much more than just a place to get a haircut.
“We really pride ourselves on the fact that my grandparents established this business so long ago, and they essentially came from nothing,” Mason said. “They had to work very hard for the success of this business and put in a lot of time, talent, and effort. Then they did a lot for the community at the same time…they used the business as an opportunity to do community service and raise awareness about bigger causes.”
Mason says this commitment to community is a tradition that Dorian’s proudly carries on to this day. The salon volunteers its time and talent to various causes each year, such as the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program.
“We’ve volunteered our services to them for about ten years now,” Mason said. “All the girls at the salon put in long hours for that to make those young girls feel good about themselves.”
According to Mason, Dorian’s charitable mission stems from a love of the Jamestown community that was passed down by her grandparents. She says that her grandparents always wanted to give back to the city and the people that had shown them so much support.
“My grandfather always used to say that he believed in downtown Jamestown,” Mason said. “His belief never faded. There was a time when Jamestown wasn’t doing so well, and people used to say to him, ‘Sam, why don’t you move? Go somewhere else?’ But my grandfather refused to ever do that. He thought that if we made an effort to create an atmosphere that makes people want to be here, then downtown Jamestown would thrive. He never wanted us to move our location. And we’ve been downtown for 70 years now – we’ve stood the test of time.”
Dorian’s has been able to flourish throughout the years by building a loyal customer base and solidifying community ties. According to Mason, the city of Jamestown has always embraced Dorian’s and its history as a family-owned business. Patrons of the salon seem to agree: reviews and posts on Dorian’s Facebook page laud the business for its services and atmosphere, and more than one commenter refers to the salon as a “home away from home.”
“That’s a really awesome compliment,” Mason said. “Walking into Dorian’s, it’s just a warm feeling. The workers are not workers, they’re family. We make it fun and comfortable for our clients. It’s kind of one of those places where everybody knows each other, and when we don’t know you, we act like we do. We treat you like you’re supposed to be here. We welcome everybody.”
For more information on Dorian’s Salon and its seven decades of service to the Jamestown community, visit the business’s Facebook page or call the salon directly at 484-1883.
The Jamestown Gazette is proud to recognize our dealers, outstanding corporate citizens of our county. This week, the Gazette especially thanks Dorian’s Salon for the faithfully carrying The Jamestown Gazette, The People’s Paper, for the benefit of their customers, our readers.