Galdys Rivera is receiving flowers and a certificate for her years of service. (Photo: Gladys Rivera Staff)

In 1966, Gladys Rivera, originally from Jayuya, Puerto Rico, embarked on a remarkable path when she arrived in Philadelphia at 16. With a passion for English and hairstyling, she faced the challenge of pursuing her dreams without a high school diploma. She pursued her GED at Temple University, and after that, she was certified in cosmetology by Harlow’s Beauty School.
Rivera was married at a young age and aspired to establish her own beauty salon. Over the years, she honed her hairstyling skills and navigated the complexities of meeting city requirements. Opening her salon 51 years ago, Gladis transformed hairdos and provided a haven of community encouragement.

Beyond hairstyling, she became a trusted advisor to her clients, offering guidance on personal stories, fashion, and even community resources. Her salon doubled as a hub for communal assistance, reflecting her lifelong commitment to sharing knowledge gained through experience and education.

This was Gladys Rivera’s hair salon. (Photo: Gladys Rivera staff member)

«I decided to sell my business and start a new chapter. While I still love my profession, I no longer wish to handle the administrative burdens that come with it,» shares Rivera. «It’s time to step back from managing taxes, personnel, and utility services and focus on what I love most – hairstyling.»

Rivera expresses deep gratitude to Esperanza, particularly Phil and Darlenys, for their support throughout her journey. Their guidance and opportunities helped her business in the community.
Offering advice to aspiring salon owners and employees, Rivera emphasizes going beyond client expectations, continuous learning, and ensuring both stylist and client satisfaction. «When you love what you do, and your client is happy, it’s a win-win for both,» she says.
As Gladys Rivera embarks on a new phase, her legacy will leave an indelible mark on those she touched over the past five decades.


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