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Ricky’s Pulls Out Big Guns for Salons

Ricky’s, the spunky, irreverent New York beauty chain, is having another go at the salon business.

Ricky’s Revolver salon.

Ricky’s — the spunky, irreverent New York beauty chain — is having another go at the salon business.

Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, Ricky’s has carried a broad array of professional hair care products, but its current salon concept, called Revolver, aims to lend credibility to its aisles of hair-related merchandise.

One of the first Revolver salons is housed in Ricky’s newly opened outpost located at 2906 Broadway at 114th Street, a stone’s throw from Columbia University. Two others are located at Ricky’s 124 Crosby Street and 111 Third Avenue stores, and another is slated for Ricky’s lone store outside the New York metro area, in Miami.

The 300-square-foot Revolver salon replaces Ricky’s initial in-store salon concept, called Shears, Hustle and Blow, which was introduced in 2007. The concept folded after the partner involved parted ways with the retailer.

Ricky’s chief executive officer, Dominick Costello, said the latest incarnation is ripe for all 22 Ricky’s locations, which dot Manhattan, Long Island and Brooklyn.

“[Revolver] is a good fit for us because it gives us credibility with our customers,” said Costello. It also legitimizes the sale of professional salon products, he acknowledged.

Beauty devotees have come to recognize Ricky’s as the go-to retailer for difficult-to-find hair care products such as Kérastase shampoo and Elnett hair spray, a staple backstage at fashion shows. Costello said that, a decade ago, Ricky’s sourced many of these goods from the gray market. Now, it buys about 90 percent of the 15,000 items it carries directly from the manufacturer, he said.

Inside the Upper West Side Ricky’s, which opened Jan. 30, the two-chair Revolver salon is located at the back of the spacious, 29,000-square-foot store — past displays of Foot Petals shoe inserts, Spanx hosiery, Ricky’s private label hair and bath accessories and an assortment of Fekkai Salon Color kits.

Patrons with a valid student ID are given a 10 percent discount on services, which average $50 to $60 for a haircut or $25 for a buzz cut, said Andrew Curran, manager of Revolver Salons. Other services include highlights, starting at $125; custom color (in bright, punk-rock shades), and keratin treatments, starting at $225.

The target audience for Revolver mirrors Ricky’s customers, who buy everything from natural baby products to neon wigs there.

“It’s your typical Ricky’s client, which is everybody,” said Tommy Kim, Ricky’s creative director. He added that Ricky’s hopes to use the space as a learning annex of sorts for stylists, and to host free salon classes there.

The eclectic beauty chain, which is estimated at $40 million in size, also is flirting with the idea of opening stores in major college towns, said Costello. As for courting shoppers during a recession, he said: “Our prices run from about $1.95 to $199.95. That’s who we are. We offer a range of price points.”