From 1949-1984, Lucille K. Russo owned the LuRue’s Beauty Shop on Lyell Avenue in Rochester. Her daughter, Sharon Grasta, has followed in her mother‘s footsteps the love of hairstyling, and owns Grasta‘s Beauty and Wig Salon in Hilton. There is great pride between mother and daughter in their accomplishments in the cosmetology field, and it all began on old Lyell Ave.
Lucille opened her first salon at 448 Lyell Avenue. She said, ” I chose the location because of the amount of warm-hearted Italian people living and working there. All the merchants looked out for one another. Her shop was located in front of the Sunrise Bakery, below Dr. Alprone’s dentist office, next door to Ventura’s Barber Shop, and across the street form Shell Drugs.
Seven years later, she moved up the street to 496 1/2 Lyell Avenue. The salon was located next to Crown Photo, adjacent to neighborhood drugstore, Murray’s Drug Store, centered in the heart of the Avenue on the corner of Myrte and Lyell. Across the street was Bastian’s Dress Store, and Corray’s Market and the neighborhood hardware store, which was owned by Ray. Last but not least, there was a corner delicatessen, where everyone gathered to get after church sweets and goodies, located at the corner of Murray and Lyell. The owners were Agnes and Kenny who were always sweet to all of us.
Nine years later, she moved her shop to 539 Lyell Avenue. She lived and worked in the same building, diagonally across from Holy Apostles Church and next to the Old Blue Swan neighborhood restaurant. She reminisced about the friendly and caring nature of her Italian American neighbors. She stated, ‘When you were a store owner on the Avenue everyone was one big family. Joseph Esposito’s Barber Shop (father of Gates Town Supervisor Ralph J. Esposito) gave little ones their first haircuts. Everybody loved him. And, the late Margaret Camelio of Camelio’s Insurance was a wonderful neighbor and client. All of the children from the Lyell Avenue businesses grew up together, walked to Holy Apostles Church where they had their communions, confirmations, graduations, weddings and summer festivals where all the merchants work to help the church. My customers on Lyell Avenue were happy to come to the shop where they could be understood and speak Italian. I still love hairdressing and reminiscing about the wonderful days on the ‘Avenue.’
‘Lu” is equally proud of her daughter’s success. As a child, Sharon was always around her mother, looking and listening while ‘Lu’ talked to her customers. Sharon has had a passion for styling hair since she was 4 years old, playing hairstylist on her dolls’ hair. Her father, the late Dominic J. Russo also saw her talent and encouraged her aspirations.
As a result, Grasta graduated from the Continental School of Beauty and Chadwicks of England Beauty School, and now owns her own shop in her home, with the largest wig inventory in Westem NY. Because of her extensive knowledge about wigs, doctors, nurses, and various illness support groups recommend Grasta.
THIS IS A TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER AND FATHER
Sharon started her Wig Business at her Mother Beauty Shop way before she received her Hairdresser License and before she started her own business .Her Mom’s Shop was Lu Rue’s Beauty Shop on 496 1/2 Lyell Avenue this was back in the late 50’s & 60’s. Then in the 60’s Sharon then went to the decided to flowed her mother foot steps in the trade off Hairdressing .Sharon as a little girl had her hands on hair the feel of what she wanted to do to work with hair. Then in the 60’s she then to the Continental Beauty School and got her degree . Then went for more training at the Chadwick of England Styling School. Where she went to advance training and then completed there training . Sharon was no stranger to this field she was train by the best with in those years she had extra training in Alternative Hair which in Wigs. But looking back in Sharon years she remembering that her mother told to hold her hand out and Her Mom lade on a Razor , Shears , Comb, And a Wig . She ask me how heavy is that Sharon and I answer ,and I answer not heavy at all Mom. And my Mother said Sharon that will be heaviest tools that you will have to hold in your trade .
I have been in my Mothers shop from a baby up playing with dolls taking down their hair and watching my Mom to her clients hair and flowing my Mom what she was doing . Sometimes I would ask if I could comb there hair while they would be waiting for my Mom. They said yes I was only about 5 years off age I was so happy when they reach in there wallet and handed me twenty five cents. You see I am not a stranger in this field I was born a Hairdresser.
A little latter Sharon married Samuel R Grasta & that’s were Grasta’s Beauty and Wig Studio had started . Sharon husband wanted to break away from the old Lyell Ave neighbor hood and start a homestead on Flower City Park that’s were the first Grasta’s Beauty And Wig Studio Started in a three room basement with a complete studio. The address was 104 Flower City Park Mother & Daughter had there own business . Were some people have help and they have been gifted with a golden in there mouth Sharon didn’t she started in a strange neighbor hood leaving her clients behind with her Mother it wouldn’t be right to take them so I started to build a new client base in a new neighbor hood knowing no one ! yes I started in a strange neighbor hood passing fliers from door to door 3 to 5 blocks walking many blocks in the winter I was not going to give up I made so many phones calls to reach people and that one on one was what make it happen to talk to them I would not give up until I reach my goal by winning there hearts.
My heart will always be in this business. I Also work out in the area Hospitals , Nursing Homes, and work in Senior Homes to care for them with hair and wigs. I say my love is out there for the people. My Studio was always by appointment one on one .After 13 wonderful years off building my husband wanted to relocate in Parma and again Sharon had to say good by to those great people but some found her. She had to start all over again it was getting tiring but she did it for Samuel I said not again! But my mother step in and said Sharon your not going to break your heart .I will buy your house from you and I will work it while you open in Parma and that she did she sold the business at Lyell Ave and Lu Rue’s came to Flower City Park.
In time My Mom & Dad live on the first floor then she could do her business and clients there . The new Grasta’s Beauty And Wig Studio is now at 409 Parma Center Rd. In Hilton N.Y. This has been a Family business for a very long time . My Uncles were home builders and they new what they were doing I remember as I was a little child my Uncle Joe Palermo and my Uncle Mike was remodeling my Mother first Studio they said when they was on the second booth is going to be little Sharon booth And my Uncle Joe was so right on ! he hit the nail right on the head & hear I am on my 50th year still going strong . As long as I could remember as a little child in Mom’s studio, I always had the feel in my hand doing something with Hairdressing , Wigs , Men Hair Pieces ,or Top Pieces , or Falls. My Mom & Dad is so proud of me there watching be from heaven, own two feet and not leaning on anyone not even my Husband Sam .
I lost my Dad in 1999 his name was it’s so hard to say lost but it was Dominic J Russo all his friends called him ( D J ) and I lost my very best friend and partner my Mother her name was Lucille K Russo they called her Lu she died 2009 when you lose your parents you lost the world e my mentors .As you can see in my website about My Mother in front off her Beauty Shop leaving .I could still remember my Dad washing the windows on a Saturday at closing. I was very close to my parents I am a only child and having no children it is very lonely with out them. But having a loving Husband by my side has made this heavy cross a little lighter to carry.
Thank you very much Dear Lord for granting these wonderful Mom & Dad that brought me in this world and this great man for my husband Sammy Grasta.
I Love you Mom And Dad
Sharon has continued her training with the Rene of Paris Certificate of Achievement and successfully completed an Alternative Hair educational program on 11/20/02.
In October of 2014 Sharon has completed her training from the world renowned FOLLEA Academy Hair for Life – Nature’s Beautiful Hair from FOLLEA in Beverly Hills, CA. Her certification is pictured on the site and she can be found from the FOLLEA contact locater map.
You’re never too old to learn more in life and Sharon will continue learning more in years to come.