Grasta’s Wigs in Hilton not just your ordinary beauty salon
By Christine Green
Sharon Grasta sold her very first wig at age 11. A little girl at her school had alopecia — an autoimmune condition that results in loss of hair — and her other schoolmates cruelly teased by her. Grasta’s heart ached for her friend.
She invited the girl over to her mother’s beauty shop (LuRue’s Beauty & Wig Salon on Lyell Avenue) for a homework date. After they finished their homework, the girls played “dress up” with her mother’s wigs.
The little girl looked in the mirror and saw a new person with a lovely, full head of hair. She went home that night and told her mother all about Grasta’s kindness. The child’s mother later went to the shop and paid for the wig in installments until the girl’s birthday. She told Grasta, “You made my daughter whole.”
Grasta’s mother gave her the money and told her, “Sharon, you’ve just sold your first wig!”
Grasta’s kindness and generosity has helped countless people over the years feel better about themselves. Today, she owns and operates Grasta’s Beauty and Wig Studio in Hilton.
Chasing a passion
While 11 may seem young to start in the beauty business, Grasta’s career actually started much earlier in life. As a young child, she would comb the hair on the many dolls her father bought for her. When he saw her styling the hair on one of them, he decided she needed a real wig to work on.
From then on, she paid careful attention to the hair and wig styling lessons her mother gave her and she eagerly helped around the shop with customers.
Grasta later graduated from the Continental School of Beauty as well as Chadwicks of England Beauty School. Her first beauty and wig shop was located on Flower City Park in Rochester.
She also worked with patients dealing with medical hair loss at Rochester General Hospital, and now all area hospitals refer patients to her for help with wigs. Today, her shop in Hilton offers one of the largest wig inventories in Western New York.
Grasta’s reputation as a top-notch wig stylist has attracted clients from all over New York. She regularly sees people from places such as Baldwinsville, Naples, and even from as far away as Long Island.
People make the trip to Hilton from such distances because Grasta, as client Amanda Pollard from North Tonawanda put it, “has an encyclopedic knowledge of wigs. The quality of the wigs is extraordinary.”
Bill Yeoman of Greece agrees. His wife Linda has purchased several wigs from Grasta over the years.
“Sharon is very knowledgeable about the wigs and she has quite a variety available. Her wigs are very nice and we’ve had no problems with any of them. It’s been a really good experience,” Bill said.
Each client’s appointment with Grasta is totally private and no walk-ins are allowed. This gives Grasta’s clients peace of mind knowing that they have her undivided attention and that their reason for coming is kept completely confidential.
Grasta carefully takes measurements and studies a client’s bone structure and skin tone in order to help them purchase the wig that best suits them. She has a large stock of wigs including her own line made with the human hair from Europe. She can also custom order wigs if needed.
Grasta works with many different types of clients, including those in community and school theater programs. She helps them find just the right wigs for their shows. She has even worked with a local Santa and Mrs. Claus to help prep their wigs for the Christmas season.
Grasta also caters to several clients in the transgender community in addition to customers who have thinning hair due to aging or medical hair loss.
Pollard is a transgender woman who came to Grasta to support her transition in 2016. “I found my way to her at a time when I was at my wit’s end. I have nothing but the highest regard for Sharon. I love her,” she said.
Grasta comforted Pollard and helped her find the wig that was perfect for her as she embarked on this life journey. She added that Grasta “immediately made me feel comfortable and accepted. She was extraordinarily kind and helpful. In a very real way, she has made my life possible.”
This level of care is important to Grasta.
“I understand the feeling of love they need and I take care of them. I’m there for them. I fulfill their needs,” she said.
She has also sat with many cancer patients whose struggle with their illness had taken an emotional toll. She always has a box of tissues on hand and lets them talk or cry as needed. Her years of hard work and loving dedication helps her know exactly how to handle the emotional process of choosing a wig while undergoing cancer treatment.
She recalls her time working at area hospitals: “They didn’t want balloons, they didn’t want candy. They wanted to look and feel great.”
Joy Burrell of Greece suffers hair loss due to alopecia, stress, and menopause. When she went to Grasta, she wanted someone who would make her feel and look good since “a woman’s hair is her crowning glory.”
She was so pleased with the Grasta’s kindness and the quality of the wigs that she bought four. Burrell said she has gotten many compliments on her wigs.
Grasta’s clients are extremely important to her, and every day she takes joy in helping her customers.