By Andrew Wroblewski
Huntington Station resident Phyllis Riccardi’s life changed with just a simple phone call.
On Jan. 7, around 2:45 a.m., Riccardi found out that Hair It Iz Salon, a Huntington Station business she’s run since 1988, was burnt to a crisp.
“I just redid the whole store [last year] so to see it burning, I was so distraught; it was horrifying,” Riccardi, 65, said.
A fire, originating in what was formerly Collectors Kingdom comic shop in the West Hills Shopping Center, ripped through the Jericho Turnpike strip mall and left several business owners, including Riccardi, scrambling to get back on their feet.
“Everything I had went into that shop,” Riccardi said. “[But] everybody has been pitching in… Everybody has been supportive and I want to rebuild and stay in the community since I’ve bene here since 1988.”
To help Riccardi get back up and running, a fundraiser at Anthony’s Italian Restaurant – located at 271 Jericho Turnpike in Huntington – is scheduled for Feb. 22 from 2-5 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by Jerry Cardone, a Frank Sinatra tribute artist, and Our Generation, a band that specializes in 1960s music. There will be three “Chinese auction” tickets provided for a $20 donation at the door.
“I hope to rebuild Hair It Iz, so we’re going to see how much money we can raise,” Riccardi said.
Currently scouting potential new locations for the shop, Riccardi hopes to use the donation money to get back up and running. The shop, she said, was insured, but the payout has been “minimal.”
Originally operating as a Lemon Tree hair salon, Riccardi took over the shop independently as Hair It Iz on July 1, 2014. From there, she spent her time and money renovating the salon and completed those renovations just after Thanksgiving.
Other businesses affected by the fire last month were T.I. Elite Nail Salon and Spa, Deli Pupuseria Salvadorena and Artista Kitchen Designs. A cause for the fire was not determined, but it is not suspected to be criminal.