Riverview Salon and Day Spa owners roll the dice in Newburgh
In awful economy, business provides jobs, full array of services
NEWBURGH — Everybody told Daniel Frank he was crazy.
Opening a business in this economy? Sinking $300,000 into it? Putting up his assets as collateral to the bank?
No way. Frank said yes, I can. And his bankers at Walden Federal said yes, we can, too.
Frank fell in love with a space on Newburgh’s waterfront about eight months ago, so even when the economy took a serious turn for the worse, he decided to move forward with his plan to turn it into a new business, Riverview Salon and Day Spa.
“This is probably the worst time that I could possibly think about doing this, but an opportunity opened with a location on the river, and I didn’t want to let it go,” he said. “If I waited for the economy to turn around, I would have lost the location. So I rolled the dice.”
Now Frank and business partner Jeanie Tomita are open for business and have hired 22 people. They expect to employ about 30 — hair stylists, massage therapists and others — when they’re fully staffed. Some of the staff came with a client base, but others are fresh out of school. So Frank has created jobs. A sort of miniature economic stimulus package.
Four or five banks turned him down for financing, including his own bank, the deeply troubled Bank of America. He finally went to Walden Federal, which knew the building, liked Frank’s business plan, and gave him the line of credit he needed. It’s not concerned about Frank’s chances, even in this economy, said assistant vice president Anthony Casillo.
“Based on the products and services they’re focusing on, understanding the demographics and traffic that area can generate with the ferry and the restaurants and the culture that’s down there on the waterfront, I have no doubt that he will do very well,” Casillo said.
Newburgh, especially, needs the jobs. The area has been the focus of revitalization efforts for years, efforts that are starting to gain traction with the opening of a number of new businesses in the area.
Mark Mallia, chef/owner of The River Grill, welcomes Frank’s business and supports other efforts to develop the rest of the waterfront, but he would like to start seeing a broader collection of businesses in the area.
“Business generates business — the more lights on, the more activity; but I do feel we’re kind of overwhelmed with restaurants and bars,” he said. “Do I think any type of new business can help the waterfront? Absolutely. Do I think service infrastructure like doctors’ and lawyers’ offices and shopping would be better? Absolutely.”
So far, Frank’s gamble seems to be paying off. Business has been good, and for Frank, who also tends bar at neighboring Gully’s, the business-begets-business philosophy is inspiring.
“I’m very surprised, with the economy the way it is,” he said. “It’s so uplifting to me, because I haven’t slept in probably seven months worrying about this.”
Riverview Salon & Day Spa