Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

KINGSTON–The shuttered beauty supply and wig store that operated in Kingston for more than four decades has just been reinvented by a millennial with big dreams and new vision.

Iconic Kingston Beauty Store Reopening--For Good

Felicita Chipak outside her new store at 56 North Front St. in Uptown Kingston. Photo provided.

Felicita Chipak, a 30-year-old Port Ewen mother, is making a go of it as she reopens Columbia Wig and Beauty Supply on Saturday at its new location at 56 North Front St., a few doors down from the former business.

The 900-square-foot space will carry wigs, extensions, costume play wigs and many of the specialty cosmetics the old store, at 66 North Front St., sold.

Owner Laura Spaey closed the doors for good on Dec. 31, 2016 after a 43-year run. Even as she turned the key, she had high hopes that someone like Chipak would step into the picture to save the iconic shop.

Chipak partnered with Spaey earlier this year to liquidate the remaining $200,000 in merchandise and hinted back then that she had big plans to keep it going.

The two had a “creative” business agreement that allowed Chipak to “inherit” the rental costumes and keep 10 percent of the liquidation sales profits.

Initially, her plan was to reopen a small costume shop in Midtown and forego the hair and cosmetics end of the business, but she said she has heard the public.

Iconic Kingston Beauty Store Reopening--For Good

The interior of the new Columbia in Uptown Kingston. Photo provided.

“I had to make a tough decision because I wanted to reopen sooner than later. I kept getting calls from customers–women–who said they needed special-order wigs,” Chipak said Friday as she was preparing for Saturday’s grand reopening.

“There was just not anything at the time that could house the entire business, so I had to think creatively. I can start with the beauty supply store and then expand.”

Because Columbia is an Uptown tradition, Chipak resolved to keep it there, but she still plans to open a full costume shop at a 3,000-square-foot space on Fashion Avenue in Midtown that will also offer professional makeup classes.

She has launched a crowd-sourcing campaign to initially raise $15,000 and has applied for grants. If all goes as planned, Chipak hopes to open the costume shop by Halloween.

To pull all of this off, Chipak had to quit her full-time job at Fruition Chocolate in Shokan–not an easy decision.

“It is a giant leap of faith,” she said. “I had a great job, but I just always had this inkling
to be a business owner, and Columbia is a place that  attracts interesting and incredibly talented people. This is something definitely worth keeping around in the community.”

As for the new store, Chipak promises it will feel more like a New York City-style boutique.

“I’ve transformed and rebranded it, making it a nice, clean and classy place,” she said.

Chipak also is thinking outside the box by bringing in a “talented” city stylist, who specializes in cutting, coloring and styling wigs. Jenae Yelina will be available by appointment on Mondays, the only day the store will be closed.

Columbia’s new hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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