By Venise Grossmann
In the fifties, it was not common to see a male hair stylist working in a salon. But during that time, Edward Cirone made a name in the predominantly female profession and built a business that has endured over fifty years. Located in the heart of historic downtown Woodbury, Edward’s Hairstyling is still a family-owned business that has employed family members for three generations.
Cirone’s uncle Anthony had a salon on Curtis Avenue in Woodbury called Anthony’s in the forties and fifties. Cirone worked for him as a stylist before leaving to do a stint in the military. While he was away, his uncle styled the hair of a young girl named Millie whom he thought would be a perfect match for his nephew. When Cirone returned from the service, Anthony introduced the two. The young man was so smitten with her that they married two years later in 1956. Millie worked alongside her husband in their new family business, and in 1957, the couple purchased Anthony’s Hair Salon. Three years later, they moved it to the current location on 14 South Broad Street, changing the name to Edward’s.
The building was originally a bike shop named Wilson’s and then a drug store called Marshall’s. When Cirone renovated the property in 1978, he built an addition that included a men’s salon for privacy, as the style was permanent waving for men at the time. (Now chemical work has changed and the new trend is grey blending for men.) Cirone also created a courtyard in back where customers could relax in between treatments.
The business was a success because Cirone had a strong business sense and realized that educating his staff and putting the customer first would set him apart. He became an esteemed member of the profession. Considered a top stylist, Cirone earned accolades in Who’s Who in Hairdressing and taught at hair shows in New York. He was later named Chairman of the New Jersey Board of Beauty Culture, and he was also head of licensing through the State of New Jersey. Cirone shared his knowledge on radio, TV, and the newspapers. He had his photo taken with Dick Clark and Chubby Checker and made an appearance on American Bandstand.
Over the years, Edward’s continued to be family oriented. At one point, Cirone, his wife Millie, his brother Tom and his wife Carol, and their two cousins all worked at the salon. Although Cirone had five children, Cindy was the only one who took an interest in the business. During the summer of her sophomore and junior years in high school, her father encouraged her to go to beauty school, but Cindy scoffed. Cirone said, “Give it one year after you graduate from high school. If you don’t like it after that, I will pay to send you to school to pursue whatever you like.” Cindy accepted the agreement and has been working at the salon for the past 35 years.
Cirone also brought on another valued employee, Michael Frasca, who worked at Edward’s for three years before Cirone passed in 1978. After Cirone’s death, his wife Millie managed the salon until 1999 when she retired. At that time, Cindy (now Cindy Cirone Trovato) and Frasca took it over. Frasca, a renowned stylist himself, has worked in the business for 37 years.
Over the years, the co-owners faced some challenges. When malls opened in the seventies, there was a rise in chain salons. Trovato said they were able to survive because Edward’s offered a more personalized relationship than the chains. “We don’t do the numbers game,” she said. “We also make reminder and follow up calls to keep in touch with our clients’ needs.” A majority of their business is also local. “Seventy-five percent of our clients are from Gloucester County,” said Trovato.
Another key to their success is maintaining their customers through the generations. “Kids get their first hair cut here and utilize our services for all the high points in their lives—Homecoming, Prom, weddings, and babies’ first haircuts,” said Trovato. “We pride ourselves in being a salon for the entire family.” Many local students come to Edward’s to get their hair done for Prom and Homecoming from Woodbury, West Deptford, and Gateway Regional High Schools.
Woodbury resident Rosemary Lukens is one of the salon’s loyal customers. Lukens’ mother started taking her to Edward’s when she was seven-years-old to get "pixie" haircuts. When Lukens was 14, she attended her sister’s wedding and she, as well as the rest of the bridal party, had their hair done at the salon. (A black and white photo of the wedding is displayed on the wall at Edward’s.) Trovato has done her hair consistently for about 25 years because she knows what Lukens likes and the products she needs. “I used to get frizzy hair when it was humid until Cindy introduced me to keratin treatments. What a remarkable thing! My hair doesn't frizz any more!” says Lukens.
Lukens also took her boys to the salon as young children, and they still patronize the business. “When my son, Alex, went to Temple, he would come home to have his hair cut. He has never gone anywhere else,” says Lukens.
According to Lukens, her daughter Samantha had a “mop of curly, strawberry blonde hair” until she took her to Edward’s. Stylists Stacey Knox and Jennifer St. John did such a wonderful job that Samantha won’t let anyone else touch her hair. “These two Edward's stylists, as well as Alexa McDowell, are very much in tune with the younger set,” says Lukens.
What sets Edward's apart, says Lukens, is the consistency of their service. She knows that she is going to walk out pleased when she goes there. “I love my hair and my hair color. They also have a great line of hair products. The stylists who work there are talented, knowledgeable and are really nice, too!” she says.
The salon is also well known for their commitment to the community. A few times a month some of their customers donate hair to Locks of Love, and the stylists make sure that the guidelines are met. Working in conjunction with Main Street Woodbury and the Woodbury Merchants and Professional Association, Edward’s has always been involved in all downtown events including Lunch Munch, Ghost Tours, Candlelight Shopping, the Car Show, and Block Party.
Most recently, Edward’s teamed up with Gloucester County Institute of Technology and worked with students to do “Fair Hair,” creating crazy multicolored hair during the Main Street Woodbury Fall Arts Festival, a two-day event. Edward’s staff also visits the local high schools for their Career Days. In addition to taking part in a Purple Hair Campaign for anti-bullying, their salon members participate in the annual Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk in Philadelphia. The co-owners also donate gift certificates to support local charities.
Trovato’s family is active in the community. Her husband, Dave Trovato, owns AVC Media Group, a film production and advertising agency, located in the Constitution Building, and he is a councilman and Chairman of Woodbury’s Economic Development Committee. Their son Vincent is the owner of The Crazy Never Die Art Supply on Broad Street, and their daughter Alicia is an instructional assistant at Evergreen Avenue Elementary School.
The co-owners are also active professionally in the beauty industry. Frasca is on the Professional Advisory Board at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, and Trovato worked for years administering the written portion of the State Beauty exam.
While Edward’s offers the same services all salons do, what sets them apart is that Trovato is a curly hair expert. In the past, many clients sought to straighten their locks. Now the trend is to showcase curls. Since Trovato has curly hair herself, she understands the issues that these clients face. Trained at DevaChan in New York City, she is able to consult with her clients to assess their curl type, face shape and lifestyle to determine the ideal cut. She uses a different technique, cutting on dry hair, curl by curl. Like sculpture, clients see how the hair will look as it is cut, a procedure that takes about two hours.
“It’s more expensive than a regular hair cut, but that’s because it’s a specialty service,” says Trovato.
After the cut, she educates the client about how to cleanse, hydrate, fill and style the hair, utilizing the appropriate product—either Jessicurl or DevaCurl, both sulfate and silicone free lines. (Sulfates or silicons weigh down curls.) Trovato trained several months ago with Lorraine Massey in Atlanta, Georgia. Massey is the founder of DevaCurl and the author of the Curly Hair Handbook.
Trovato also recommends that her clients not use combs or brushes and use their finger to crunch the hair instead. The goal is that the hair is healthy and frizz free. Fifty percent of Trovato’s clients are curly hair customers. Some even travel from Philadelphia and the shore, seeking her expertise.
In addition to cuts, perms and multidimensional coloring, other services the salon offers include make-up, facials, waxing, manicures and seated chair massage. Tuesdays are Senior Citizen Days when the salon offers 20 percent off all services. In addition to their hair care products, Edward’s also sells MICHE handbags, soy candles, handmade cards, and jewelry.
In order to keep in contact with their clients, Edward’s has a web site, Facebook page with 1,400 “likes” and a Pinterest and Instagram account. The staff posts once a day to showcase their work, provide support for community events, or share hair tips such as how to deal with static or information about new products. All of these forums afford many opportunities for their customers to ask them questions. This kind of service has resulted in high salon ratings on Google reviews.
“Edward’s salon motto is ‘Quality never goes out of style,’” says long-time customer Rosemary Lukens, “and based on the longevity of their business, it is evident that it is working for them.”
14 South Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ
Edward’s Tips for Caring for Curly Hair:
Use proper products. Stay free of silicones, sulfates. Use water-soluble products such as DevaCurl and Jessicurl formulated for curly hair. Edward’s experts will choose the best combination of products for your curl type.
Always use your hands instead of combs and brushes.
Dry your hair with a t-shirt, paper towels or flour sack towels. Terry towels rough up the cuticle of the hair and cause frizz.
We will teach you to hydrate your hair and touch up with water-soluble products on day 2-3 and beyond.
Sleep on a satin pillowcase or breathable silk.
Wear your hair up at night to make your curls last the next day and always use fabric not elastic bands when putting it up.
Deep condition your curls twice a month during the winter months.
Read MagiCurl blog by our curly hair expert Scott Musgrave:
Watch the Deva three-step video on the Edward’s web site:
Most importantly, have your hair cut only by a trained curly hair specialist who will cut your hair dry, curl by curl, using no combs to show your curl pattern and will teach you proper at home care to always have your curls look their best.