Cecilia Castillo never imagined, as a child growing up in Mendota, that her fascination with fingernails could ever blossom into a career and her own business.
But 25 years later, the brand-new cosmetology graduate has launched her own salon, Adonai Salon, at the edge of downtown Fresno. Castillo opened the space at 1037 U St., between Tulare and Mariposa streets near the Mediterranean Restaurant, in October. A formal grand opening and ribbon cutting was celebrated last week.
The fall opening of the full-service hair and nail salon came only months after Castillo, a mother of two daughters and married to an electrician, completed two years of part-time cosmetology studies at the Milan Institute. “I went to school from 5:30 to 9 p.m.,” she said. “I’m a full-time mom, married, I still wanted to do my mommy duties, take my kids to school and feed my husband; after the husband got home, I was off to school.” Her daughters, ages 13 and 9, “were my little guinea pigs” for homework from her classes, Castillo added.
She’s come a long way from her childhood, when she would work on her sister’s nails. “I loved doing nails, but I never knew there was an industry for it,” she said. “I figured out I needed to do something with my life when my first child was born. I was always interested in fashion. I want to look nice. I decided I was going to go into cosmetology. It’s something where I can get up every morning and love to do it.”
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In addition to her lifelong fascination with fingernails, Castillo also does hair and makeup. “I love fashion, I love crazy hairstyles, I love crazy makeup,” she said, sporting exaggerated artificial nail tips and long braids of hair extensions sprinkled with purple hues attached to her own shoulder-length dark hair. Joining Castillo at the salon are three people who rent space from her to do hair and nail work, and she hopes to recruit at least two more hair stylists and three more manicurists as business picks up.
Downtown Fresno has no shortage of nail and hair salons, so Castillo is entering a crowded field of competition for customers. But she hopes the name of the salon helps set her business apart from others. “There’s a lot of Suzie’s or Maria’s beauty salons,” she said. “I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want my name on there.” Instead, she chose the word adonai, a Hebrew word for God. “I got here by the grace of God and I know He’s the one who got me here, so I wanted to give it back to Him and put His name on there.”
- Cecilia Castillo, owner
- 1037 U St., Fresno
- Phone (559) 412-8030