By Joshua Maloni
How far would you travel for a slice of your favorite pizza? Or to watch a band perform? To visit with friends or family?
Stephanie Santangelo comes into Lewiston from Philadelphia to utilize Christina Zaroian's services at La Pelle.
"I have been going to Christina at La Pelle for waxing, facials and spray tans since she opened," Santangelo said. "I love all the products she uses; she takes a lot of time researching for the best and she really knows her stuff."
As a licensed esthetician, Zaroian offers facials, waxing, airbrush tanning and body treatments in her Center Street practice. She uses Pevonia products.
"I get seasonal facials and always look forward to them, because my skin looks and feels amazing afterwards," Santangelo said. "I believe everyone should experience a facial from her! She is very vigilant at waxing and pays special attention when shaping eyebrows - I won't let anyone else touch them!"
Ashley Berry is another one of Zaroian's out-of-town clients.
"First, I have to say that I live in Amherst, and I don't even think twice to drive to Lewiston for her services," Berry said. "It is a far drive (given that I live a half a mile away from a spa), and always in the opposite direction of where I usually go. But I wouldn't go anywhere else, because she makes every visit worth it!
"I always feel like I am her focus and No. 1 priority whenever I am there. She is inviting, kind, efficient and makes every situation comfortable. One of many qualities that I love about Christina is that she is extremely consistent and continuously puts in 110 percent into every appointment. It is hard to find a place where you trust someone with your skin, get amazing prices, incredible service and get to hang out with a wonderful person, but at La Pelle, you will find it all.
"I have nothing but positive things to say about La Pelle and Christina!"
That feeling is mutual.
"My first job was in Lewiston as an esthetician," Zaroian said. "I built an amazing clientele within two years of doing it, and I wanted to be accessible for everyone in the village."
Or from the Buffalo area. Or Pennsylvania, for that matter. Regardless of residency, "My clients are everything to me," Zaroian said. "They treat me so good."
As one of three businesses listed on the brick Lewiston Professional Center building, one might expect La Pelle to be nothing more than a corner room. In fact, Zaroian's practice is deceptively large.
"I started off my first year out front with the chiropractor in a little room," she said. "And then my second year I got a second room for my spray tan. And then my third year I expanded back here. So I have the whole back of the building now."
Tanning is big at La Pelle. Clients will notice an all-natural sunless spray booth as they walk in for services.
"This is an airbrush tan, so it's basically like dying your skin darker," Zaroian said. "It lasts seven to 10 days and it's a healthier way to go than sitting in the sun and roasting your skin."
Zaroian uses Airbrush Fantasy Tan.
"It's made from a sugarcane and walnut extract, so it's more natural-based," she said. "And it's airbrush, so it's customized according to the person - how dark they want to go. They can get a sun-kissed glow or they can go dark like they went away on vacation."
Santangelo said, "Her spray tans are great for anytime of year, especially when you are going on vacation. She uses a top-of-the-line custom airbrush spray tan system that is non-toxic and you don't come out looking orange."
Of course, it wouldn't matter if one came into La Pelle looking orange ... or tired ... or without makeup.
"It being just me, you can come in your pajamas and feel comfortable," Zaroian said. '"You don't have to get ready to go to a big salon."
And, if you live in Lewiston, you won't have to drive quite as far as Santangelo or Berry.
That figures to be the case for the foreseeable future. Though many Lewiston skin and hair care practitioners have come and gone, Zaroian said she's comfortable in her space.
"I moved here four years ago. ... It's amazing. ... I just love the village," she said. "I know a lot of the business owners; it's just a friendly environment and I have a lot of loyal clients."
La Pelle is located at 765 Center St. To make an appointment, call 716-807-9706 or visit the website http://lapellelewiston.com/.
"Everyone should try La Pelle," Santangelo said. "It has a very welcoming atmosphere and she always makes me feel relaxed."
La Pelle is celebrating its fifth anniversary the first week in April.
Christina Zaroian gives Hannah McGovern a facial treatment at La Pelle in Lewiston.