For beautician Valerie Dunn, opening shop in Lilac City was all about coming home

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Valerie Dunn (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Valerie Dunn comes from a long line of self-made entrepreneurs, and always had dreams of opening a business in Rochester.
Her parents were once the owners of Lou's Pastry, a bakery that use to operate in Rochester, and she always recognized the support her parents received from the community and how it influenced her upbringing.
"If it weren't for the citizens of Rochester buying cupcakes and brownies, my childhood would have been vastly different," Dunn said. "I feel like I owe it to my community to bring a quality business to town and give back to my city."
And that is exactly what she did.
Open since 2016, Progressive Esthetics is a boutique featuring natural skincare treatments, facials, hair removal, manicures, pedicures and a variety of high-end products.
After working in esthetics for over a decade, Dunn was presented with an opportunity to open her business in Rochester after working on her own out of a studio in Dover. She jumped at the chance to return home.
"People always ask me why I chose to open my business in Rochester," Dunn said. "My answer is always, 'why not choose Rochester?' This is my home. I grew up here and now I own a home here with my husband. "Rochester is full of wonderful, blossoming businesses and I feel like we're on the cusp of a breakthrough to bring the city to the next level. Why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?"
As the first of its kind in town, Dunn's boutique stands out based on its ability to offer custom services to each of its guests. Progressive Esthetics also features services like anti-aging treatments, eyebrow shaping and even "beard facials" for men.
Dunn recently brought on an additional esthetician, which will allow Progressive Esthetics to offer twice as many appointments as before. The boutique will also be introducing three new product lines, which Dunn discovered at the International Beauty Showcase in New York City this year.
On top of her booming business, Dunn stays busy as the founder of The Progressive Entrepreneurs Circle, a resource and support group for women business owners that meets monthly. She also holds the role of Co-Vice Chair of the Rochester Social Club, dedicating time to enriching the community through volunteer efforts.
Progressive Esthetics is located at 107 North Main St., and is open Tuesday through Saturday. Its hours and services can be found online at, The boutique can also be found on Facebook, at

(Jordan Mayblum writes articles for the City of Rochester.)

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