MONROE, CT — Doris Ritenour grew up in a family of barbers and hairdressers in Honduras and has cut and styled hair herself since age 15. In 1994, she emigrated to the United States, bringing her skills with her.
“I grew up poor,” she said. “I think the United States has a lot of opportunities for immigrants like me, who want a better life.”
Now Monroe is the new home for Ritenour’s salon, Hair by Doris, which opened in Gaslight Square, 500 Monroe Turnpike, last spring. On Friday afternoon, she and her husband, Patrick, welcomed town officials into their business for its official grand opening, an event that had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Congratulations,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg said, “we wish you many years of success.”
Kellogg attended the ribbon cutting ceremony with Community and Economic Recovery Coordinator William Holsworth, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni, who is also chairman of the Economic Development Commission, and several EDC and Chamber members.
Giovanni also expressed his wish of future success for the Ritenours, and promised the EDC and Chamber will always be there to help.
Patrick and Doris Ritenour’s two daughters, Stacey, 15, and Katie, 9, also attended Friday’s event, posing for photos with everyone. Guests mingled and munched on baked goods and Doris popped open a bottle of champagne for toast to her new venture.
“They were great,” Doris said of the support she received from the town. “To be honest, I was not expecting all this. I was expecting to cut a ribbon and that’s it. I’m impressed. It was nice.”
Making women feel special
Doris went to hairdressing school in Norwalk in 1999 and met her husband in 2003, marrying him a year later.
While living in Longwood, Fla., she owned her first salon, Styles International. Doris moved to Connecticut in 2009, cutting hair at the Trumbull mall.
“I decided to open by own business,” Doris said.
She leased a little room at 10 Broadway in Trumbull with one or two chairs, before finding space in Gaslight Square at 500 Monroe Turnpike in Monroe. Patrick renovated the interior.
“The town of Monroe has been very supportive of local businesses,” Doris said. “I think it’s a really great opportunity.”
After opening Hair by Doris in March, she was forced to close because of the governor’s stay at home orders amid the pandemic one week later.
Doris estimates that 99 percent of her Trumbull clients followed her to her new salon in Monroe, where she has already added new ones.
She enjoys her work as a master hair colorist and stylist. Doris is certified in Brazilian Blowout, keratin Japanese hair straightening, and hair extensions.
“I like to make the women happy,” Doris said of being a hair stylist. “I want to make them feel special about their hair.”
Hair by Doris is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and by appointments only on Sundays. To make an appointment, call 203-880-9776. For information, visit the salon’s website, Facebook or Instagram pages.