A Clear Cut Calling

The story behind Matthews Salon Spa

By Brittany Sperino Horsford | Photo by Alice G. Patterson

On the morning of Stanley Dydo’s death in 1975, his 13-year-old grandson Matthew visited his barbershop. Frankie, one of the barbers, handed Matthew two boxes. “Frankie, who was like an uncle to me, said, ‘Your grandfather was hoping that you would try these someday.’ I opened the boxes and inside were two pairs of electric clippers. And that was it. I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t hesitate. That really launched my career.”

Matthew Dydo

This past April, Matthews Salon Spa celebrated its 27th anniversary. Owner Matthew Dydo owes much of his success to his fantastic employees, many of which are like family to him. “I have cultivated a great team,” he says. “I feel a happy employee will stay with you and will embrace your work culture. I think that’s the biggest thing because when you own your own business, it’s not a job but a family-like culture. There’s a real sense of pride in taking care of your employees. I get to help other people, and I feel very responsible for them. You need your employees to help you with your success. It’s a win-win situation. I’m really proud of my staff. They’re extremely professional and talented.”

A legacy continued
Matthew’s grandfather immigrated to the United States from Poland when he was 15. “The Russian army came into his village and killed my grandfather’s brother,” explains Matthew. “He had a sister in New Hampshire. So his parents said it was time for him to leave. He made it to Ellis Island, got to Boston and walked from Boston to New Hampshire.”

In New Hampshire, Matthew’s grandfather apprenticed as a barber. He eventually went into business with a partner, and then branched off on his own with Stanley’s Barbershop. Matthew, the youngest of five, spent his childhood in his grandfather’s shop. “I used to just live in that barbershop,” he admits. “I’d hang out, eat lollipops and read comics.” All the while Matthew picked up on the business, until his grandfather passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Matthew left his childhood home in New Hampshire and attended beauty school in Syracuse. He then worked in a salon for almost six years. When he turned 27, he opened his first salon on Fayette Street. Today, there are two Matthews Salon Spa locations — one on Erie Boulevard East in DeWitt and the other on Lincklaen Street in Cazenovia.

The “Matthews Difference”
Matthew credits the “Matthews Difference” for what has made Matthews Salon Spa successful over the past 27 years. Each client is provided with the Matthews Difference experience at the salon.

“You can open up the yellow pages and find a salon and get a phenomenal haircut because there are many talented hair dressers in the area,” says Matthew. “So why do customers choose Matthews? Because we create the Matthews Difference. It’s an experience for them. When our clients come in they are greeted properly. New clients get a salon tour, fill out a questionnaire about their personal hair needs, meet me, receive a stress relieving scalp massage and a shampoo. It’s their 45 minutes of pleasure. We really care. I’m a real ‘yes’ man. We have a salon commitment to do whatever it takes to make the client happy. I have this saying: It’s not just about the beauty self; it’s about the whole self.”

Matthew emphasizes that commitment to a passion is what brings success to new business owners. “You have a great idea,” Matthew says, referring to entrepreneurs, “and it sounds really fun, but unless you put it on paper and are willing to take the risk and make this sacrifice of your own personal time and family time, you won’t be successful. Once you quit, you’re going to wake up the next morning and say, ‘What do I do now?’”

Moments like that can make the journey rougher than anticipated. Matthew notes that success doesn’t come without road bumps. “We went through some very challenging times in 2008 and 2009. But you just never give up. You never give up, and if you have a great staff to support you, you can make it through.”

As a parent and a business owner, Matthew has learned to balance his family and work life, but also how to blend the two together when need be. “I have three wonderful boys — Elliot, Harry and Tanner — and an amazing wife, Colette, who works extremely hard,” says Matthew. “Sometimes what happens is, as a parent, you feel like you’re not available enough, but at the same time I feel like I’m giving my children life lessons. Those lessons are about hard work and about doing your best. I think that’s a real gift I’ve been able to give to my boys.”

When asked about the most difficult part of his job, Matthew said it’s spinning all of the plates as a business owner, stylist and family man. “I have a craft that I really enjoy and that’s the best part of my job. But then there’s the operations, the hiring, the firing, the billing, the finances. What you end up doing is spinning all the plates and it takes a lot of time. Time is the hardest thing when you own your own business. You don’t always have a lot of time for yourself. Try to appreciate it. I think the hardest thing is balancing it all.”

Forever grateful
While Matthew’s business continues to thrive, he continues to cherish the memories of the man who inspired him to get where he is now. “My grandfather was born in 1896,” Matthew said. “He had a silver dollar he didn’t want to spend because it had his birth date on it. That was his lucky charm and I own it today, which is really special.

“I was one of the fortunate ones to know at a very young age what I wanted to do, and I love what I do,” he concludes. “It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.”

For more information about Matthews Salon Spa, visit matthewssalonspa.com

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