ITHACA, N.Y.—Ithacans can look for a new and unique hair styling experience in DeWitt Mall going forward thanks to the debut of Luna Love Holistic Hair Studio, which celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday afternoon.

In the masked event, city officials and business owner Jessie Jean Vassallo signaled the opening of the space with the ceremonial ribbon cutting at the space across the hall from GreenStar Food Co-Op, assisted by Vassallo’s toddler daughter.

Vassallo is a hairdresser by trade, but also likes to think of her offerings as a more encompassing experience. She offers a full slate of options for men and women, but specializes in reiki-infused haircuts, a technique that emphasizes the Japanese palm-healing tactic along with a fresh haircut.

“They bring calm and tranquility and anti-stress,” she said. “Whatever kind of illness that you have. These days it’s mostly stress.”

Vassallo said that she uses natural products and a relaxing approach in order to provide the most rehabilitative environment for her clients. She added that she was ecstatic to join the DeWitt Mall community.

“The reasons to get your hair done are very different too, but we still have Zoom meetings to go to,” Mayor Svante Myrick said. “We’re here to congratulate you and thank you.”

Similarly, City Deputy Director of Development Tom Knipe echoed Myrick’s sentiments.

“We’re here to support you today, but also feel free to reach out,” Knipe said. “Thank you for investing in the DeWitt Mall, an incredible community asset.”

Developer John Guttridge said the same, speaking to how local businesses contribute to the overall sense of community downtown.

“One of the things I’m really passionate about is the vibrant, convivial sense of our downtown,” he said. “That only exists because of the time and attention that business owners like you put into your space and into your business, bringing people out and giving them something beautiful to come see.”

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at