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Latina spa owner expands into Waterford

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Waterford — Salon owner Kirsis Figueroa, a proven master with a pair of scissors, used a pair in March to clip a yellow ribbon at the entrance to her new salon at 26 Boston Post Road.

The new salon had to close almost immediately due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has now reopened.

Kirsis Hair Design & Spa occupies a newly renovated storefront in a commercially zoned, gable-roofed home just over the town line from New London.

The business represents decades of hard work by Figueroa, a native of the Dominican Republic who said she loves to cut hair and is proud to serve her community, including those who speak Spanish. The salon offers hair, nail and waxing services and soon will be offering eyelash extensions, facials and massages.

Figueroa has lived in the United States since 1992 and in Connecticut since 2005. She opened her first salon in Groton in 2006, which is now being replaced by the Waterford salon. In 2017, she added a second business at 426 Williams St. in New London, which remains open.

In March, she stood outside her newest business with her husband, Pedro Duverge, and their children, Axel and Lisette, and held the scissors in the air, smiling, as she posed for photographs. Her employees, standing in a semi-circle wearing neat black uniforms, smiled back. She said she employs four people and is training several more.

Duverge had served as the general contractor for the renovation, using his wife's vision to turn a messy storefront into a sleek, modern salon. Inside, white orchids bloomed at each hair station and cake, cookies and soft drinks waited on a side table while Pastor Josué Rosado of the Oasis de Restauración Church prayed with Figueroa's family and employees.

Billy R. Hadley, whose real estate brokerage owns the building that houses the New London spa, showed up at the grand opening to support Figueroa, who he said has a wonderful entrepreneurial story.

"She's Latino and she's a woman," he said later by phone. "She's a minority on two fronts and she's opening up a business where she did not look for any help from the public sector. We think that given the demographics of our community, those are the type of ventures that should be noted. That's progress in my opinion."

People of Latino or Hispanic origin represent an estimated 10.9% of the population in New London County, according to U.S. census figures.

k.florin@theday.com

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