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Salon on the Square to open in May

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The spacious windows on the first floor of the Woodruff Professional Building make Belinda Cornell feel like she’s at the nucleus of the community. And it’s a vantage point that will be shared soon by clients at Salon on the Square, which Mrs. Cornell plans to open the first of May.

The spot at 53-59 Public Square was chosen for a good reason by the 37-year-old, who owned a salon for six years in the town of Stanford before moving to Watertown in 2011 with her husband, Adam J., and their three children. The Georgia native was born and raised in a small town with a downtown district that she described as a spitting image of Watertown’s Public Square. She’s always had a penchant for cozy downtown communities, which provide a special sense of place.

“I like the call back to yesteryear, the classy Hollywood-style towns from the 1920s and ’30s,” she said while standing on a step ladder Wednesday, rolling maroon paint on walls. “I always loved going downtown when I was young. I wanted to be here because I like the ambience.”

Mrs. Cornell will adorn the walls of the 1,500-square-foot space with old movie posters, featuring classics like “Gone with the Wind” and “Casablanca.” The salon’s maroon-and-black color scheme is designed to complement a poster featuring “The Rocketeer,” a superhero adventure film set in Los Angeles during the 1930s. And Mr. Cornell, a graphic design professional, will create a large mural with a business logo.

The large space will include five hair stations and separate booths for makeovers, pedicures and manicures. A tandem massage room will offer massage therapy services for individuals and couples.

Hairdressers will be their own bosses; under independent contracts with the salon, they’ll receive a portion of the proceeds from clients, while the remainder will go to the business. Along with providing hair stations, the salon will cover the costs of hair products used. Depending on growth of the business, Mrs. Cornell also hopes to hire two massage therapists.

She hopes that the salon will establish a reputation in the community for service. It will offer waterless pedicures, for example, a technique that uses fewer chemicals and bacteria than normal treatments do. She’s taking a course highlighting the technique in New York City this weekend.

“We won’t use a basin or bowls , and will save anywhere from 17 to 21 gallons of water,” she said of the pedicures. “And between the health and safety of clients, it seems like the right thing to do.”

Mrs. Cornell, who recently became a member of the Downtown Business Association, said she’s committed to making the salon a sustainable business that will stay put for years. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and love what I do,” she said.

Customers may win a free makeover at the salon by participating in a contest. They’re asked to decide when they think the salon will open: before May 1, on May 1 or after May 1. The winner will be selected among the group with the correct response. Responses may be emailed to watertownsalon@gmail.

Hours at the salon will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call the salon at 782-2131.

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