The Beauty of Viall Avenue

Kelly Rae Hair Design has transformed a former bar, and before that a hotel for railroaders, into a high end beauty salon.

Fifty years ago, the area from the railroad yards to Saratoga Avenue was decidedly rough and tumble. Railroad workers and employees of the Strang Mill intermingled with patrons of the Italian Fraternal and Commercial Hotel while diesel and factory fumes filled the air. It might be striking to someone from that era that Viall Avenue is more focused on the beauty and wellness industry.

In the past year, the old Commercial Hotel building has been reborn as Kelly Rae’s Hair Design by proprietor Kelly Rae McGill Rose. Just last week, Elin Cary located her start-up, Elements of Bodywork, at the corner of Viall Avenue and Saratoga Avenue. While neither of these businesses face Viall Avenue, they are connected by it.

Rose recently purchased a home in Mechanicville after residing in Clifton Park and brought her salon business with her. “I’ve been doing hair 27 years and have owned my own [salon] since 1997,” she said. “We are doing very well and growing a lot. I have two new stylists, one nail tech whose been with me about 4 years and I hired another one on who starts next week!” She says that Kelly Rae is hoping to expand its space soon as well.

Locals are happy with the move as well. Jenine Butler of Mechanicville is a patron of Kelly Rae’s and client of stylist Shannon McBride.

Elin Cary’s Elements of Bodywork will fill the gap in massage and yoga therapy studios in the Mechanicville-Stillwater-Schaghticoke area.

“I chose the salon for hair services because of the location, as well as getting my nails done there, and had such a great experience,” Butler said.  “They were very welcoming and took time to get to know me and give me what I wanted.”

Further north on Viall Avenue, Elements of Bodywork provides services for the other attributes of beauty. Elin Cary’s facility features yoga classes, a massage room, and line of body lotions featuring local producer, Unearthed.

A native of Schaghticoke, Cary observed that the Mechanicville-Stillwater-Schaghticoke area was lacking a yoga studio with her expertise.

“There wasn’t anyone around here doing what I can do,” Cary said. “I was looking for a location in the area and this one seemed to be the right fit.”

Cary chats with yoga participants prior to a 6pm session.

Last week, even before her open house, Elements of Bodywork was full for a yoga class on a Tuesday night. Mechanicville’s Kelsey Higgins was in attendance and offered some thoughts on the new studio.

“I like how it’s close to home, since I’m coming from work it’s nice to know it’s not out of my way,” Higgins said. “Elin is great, and the classes are small enough where you can get individualized attention versus other studios in CP and beyond.”

Cary was also pleased with her open house last weekend.

“It went really well, I had 30-pluspeople show, it was a full house.”

While the past Viall Avenue was a center of industrial health, the present and future Viall Avenue may be a model of beauty, wellness, and personal health. The growth and vitality of Kelly Rae Hair Design and Elements of Bodywork could leave this area of Mechanicville sitting pretty.


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