New York, New York Salon opened its doors on February 1, 1987. A passion of Mary Louise Riser. Her late husband Charles joined her, leaving his career as an electrical engineer. Determined to succeed, they used income from their antique business to underwrite the opening costs for the first few years. Obtaining her cosmetology license in 1964, Mary Louise had held every position in the industry.
Mary Louise knew Frederick needed highly-trained cosmetologists. She opened an internal education program, retraining her staff of six employees in customer service and modern hairstyling techniques. She also oversaw the design and layout of the salon. She custom designed the towers for each station, carefully crafted the flow of the shop, designed the retail space and created the upscale image that is still associated with the company today.
New York New York Salon made waves in the industry and the Washington D.C. metro area by banning smoking on the premises. Mary Louise was one of the few businesses owners at the time to institute such a policy. New York, New York Salon’s avant-garde advertising distinguished it from other businesses in Frederick County. She recognized the emerging fashion markets in major metropolitan areas that had not yet reached Frederick County.
After the first year, New York New York Salon expanded, renovating its lower level and opening New York New York Tanning Salon. Within the first three years, New York New York Salon outgrew its capacity and expanded the location by doubling the size of the stylist floor and shampoo area. The Frederick community admired this young, but very determined business. New York, New York quickly rose to the top of the field of Frederick beauty salons. It won its first Frederick Magazine’s “Best of Frederick” award in 1996, a feat that has been repeated every year since.
Mary Louise and her late husband Charles began one of their more important missions: giving back to the community. They participated in countless non-profit competitions, raised money for galas, and supported organizations with ties to breast cancer research, Alzheimer’s, and other important causes. During this time, New York, New York also became a member of the Professional Beauty Association. As an active member of the organization, employees traveled all over the region to advocate for the needs of cosmetologists around the country.
In 2000, meeting the modern trends of a high-end salon, Mary Louise opened a luxury day spa in the previous tanning salon and renovated the salon. The day spa was so popular that it continues to operate to this day, rounding out the number of services the company provides to one of the largest service lists in the region.
New York, New York continued to grow by expanding its staff size, capacity, and service options. As Mary Louise’s children left to open The Temple: A Paul Mitchell Partner School in 2005, she found herself again at the helm, supporting the staff and growing the business. She proudly maintained the same high level of service and standard of customer care that was the basis for opening New York, New York nearly twenty years prior.
In 2008, Mary Louise faced her greatest challenge to date when the great recession hit the U.S. economy, closing thousands of small businesses and leaving many residents without income. In response, she moved quickly to secure her staff’s positions, cutting expenses, doubling down on marketing, and providing protection against collapse. A stable pillar for her staff of twenty-five, she maintained a slow, methodical, and continued growth of the company..
For her incredible work, Mary Louise has been featured in Frederick Magazine, Baltimore Business Journal, The Frederick News Post, WFMD, and countless business and philanthropy blogs.
2016 was a pivotal year for the company. After 29 consecutive years of growth, Mary Louise moved the operation from a 2,000 square foot property at 808 Toll House Avenue to the incredible 8,000 square foot mansion at 1201 North Market Street. The acquisition and renovation of the property was not easy, but Mary Louise’s keen instinct for layout and customer service took a deteriorating building and gave it new life. Upon reopening at this new location on October 16, 2016, her staff were thrilled with the outline of the new company.
The company needed to adjust quickly to the new demand from the Frederick and regional community. Mary Louise restructured the company adding a management team and ten new staff positions. New York, New York now proudly employees thirty-five employees.
In 2020, Mary Louise faced a new challenge unlike any prior. COVID-19 began rapidly spreading around the world and hitting the United States especially hard. In response, the Governor closed all businesses for 10 full weeks. The management team under Mary Louise’s direction moved quickly and secured federal and state funding to protect the pay and jobs of all the employees that work at New York, New York. The company reopened its doors on Friday, May 29 with dozens of new safety protocols creating a safe environment for both team members and guests. The company continues to operate with its high level of customer care and support in this new environment, prepared for whatever the future may hold.