'We are back on track,' says owner of race attack salon Asta's Glam Factory as it re-opens
Salon owner Asta: I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported me through my journey and helped me to get here again
Five months after it was destroyed in a racially motivated hate crime - Asta's Glam Factory is open for business again.
Lithuanian businesswoman Asta Samaliute's salon in east Belfast was destroyed on April 13 after it was believed a group forced the shutters up on the premises and poured accelerant inside and set it alight.
The attack devastated the owner who vowed she would not be driven out of Northern Ireland.
Police said the attack on Asta's Glam Factory on Castlereagh Street was racially motivated.
Speaking at the time of the incident she told the Belfast Telegraph that "Northern Ireland was her home" and that she had always felt "really, really supported".
While repair work was carried out - Asta has been working from Revive Hair and Beauty but now she has re-opened her original premises, making the announcement last night on the Asta Glam Factory Facebook page.
She said: "After more than 5 months of hard work and dedication I can finally say WE ARE OPEN.
"I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported me through my journey and help me to get here again.
"Thank you everyone for your kind donations, kind words and your help..
"The biggest thank you goes out to Linda owner of Revive hair and beauty who has kindly taken us to her salon and couldn't be nicer to us - also her team who made us feel welcome.
"Can't wait to see what the next few months will bring! Watch this space! We are back on track."
The day after the attack a community rally was held to show support for Asta and more than £5,000 was raised within 24 hours.
Around 200 people joined a protest outside the premises.
The salon owner said she appreciated the support she had been shown.
At the time she said: "It's really, really amazing.
"It's comforting to know that there are so many good people around us here in east Belfast.
"I've had a lot of phone calls from people all over Northern Ireland supporting me. I'm so glad to have everyone's support - it really means a lot to me.
"What happened last night was just unbelievable, but it will make me stronger."
Belfast Telegraph Digital