Aveda Canada CEO Ray Civello Talks Civello Salons’ US Expansion

You can now visit your favourite hair salon in one of your favourite US cities.  

After 25 years as a staple in Toronto, Civello Salons has expanded south of the border, opening the doors of three Chicago locations today.

The Civello name has been synonymous with the Toronto hair industry for years. Since its inaugural Rosedale location opened up shop in 1989, the beloved brand has grown to three other Toronto locations, along with one in Oakville.

Because the expansion alone wasn’t enough to celebrate the 25th anniversary, Civello’s Rosedale flagship location also unveiled The Studio. Perfect for brides and the city’s socialites alike, it offers a private loft-like space for hair and makeup appointments by Civello’s top stylists. 

As a leading Aveda lifestyle salon and spa, Civello is a vision of owner Ray Civello and his complementary role as CEO of Aveda Canada. Civello has achieved success that most entrepreneurs – especially in the hair industry – can only dream about.

We caught up with Ray Civello for some insight from the seasoned entrepreneur on what it takes to move into the US market.  

How did you know it was the right time to expand into the US?
This year, as Civello celebrates its 25th anniversary in Canada, the opportunity of expanding into the Chicago market presented itself and we thought, well, now or never! Chicago is a city much like Toronto; they both have multicultural populations of about the same size and there is definitely an opportunity there to provide the Civello standard of service excellence.

What are the biggest barriers to entry as a Canadian chain of businesses?
Being recognized for the value you bring. Emphasizing our authenticity and passion to the Chicago market is our top priority. Civello has always been dedicated to creating a place where beauty and wellness come together with a personal touch that makes our guests look and feel their best. We operate based on what the local community needs and wants. As we move into a new city, getting to know our neighbours is going to be the most important step in building a Civello community and family like we have in Canada.

How does this affect your role? Will you be spending more time in the US?
I plan on being in Chicago to oversee all activities as often as my schedule allows me to be. It absolutely affects my role, as I care deeply about every location and the people that make them the amazing places they already have become. I will continue to be an active participant in Toronto as well as Chicago.

Any advice to entrepreneurs about breaking into the American market?
Deeply understanding the culture of the market is crucial. Also important is strong leadership and a team you can trust. No successful business is a solitary effort. Throughout this experience, we have seen so much hard work, dedication and pure passion to make the dream come to life. 

Was this always a goal for you?
Expansion has always been a goal whenever there is a compatible market and the right demographic.

What is the greatest piece of wisdom you learned from the experience?
It will take longer than you think.

Going to be in Chicago?

Civello North
1001 W. North Avenue, Chicagom IL

Civello State
621-623 N. State Street, Chicago, IL

Civello Belmont
1637 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL


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