New salon nails down mani-pedi businessMary Lam of West St. Paul said she decided to open a salon in River Falls because, “If you don’t try, you don’t know.”
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Mary Lam of West St. Paul said she decided to open a salon in River Falls because, “If you don’t try, you don’t know.”
She and brother-in-law Jerry McElroy have been working toward a targeted open date of Monday, June 11, when they’ll open for business the doors of Tip Top Nails, 707B N. Main Street.
There, people can get any kind of manicure and pedicure services, including nails done with gel color, acrylic and overlays, as well as styles that include French, pink-and-white and all kinds of customized nail art and design.
Mary came to the United States from Vietnam 16 years ago.
She got to know River Falls and some of its people when along the way of her career, she worked for about a year at the downtown salon QT Nails.
Though apprehensive about talking to the media, she’s grateful for a way to get the word out that she’s opening a business here.
Lam realizes that if she’d opened a nail salon in the Twin Cities, it probably would not have prompted a newspaper business story.
Lam guarantees unique nail design and artwork each time a client visits.
Those who want custom nails will leave with hands and feet like no one else’s, she says. Customers will find in the salon five pedicure chairs that recline, massage and have a whirlpool foot bath; four nail stations and a UV drying station.
The owner says clients can access free wireless Internet inside the shop, too.
Lam took possession of the keys May 1 and with the help of friends, family and local contractors, have been fixing up the salon space. That has included installing walls, special plumbing, air and water, as well as doing electrical, ventilation and finishing work.
“We’re waiting for one more state permit to clear,” said McElroy. “Now it’s getting real.”
Tip Top Nails, which erected its sign two weeks ago, owns the business and rents the space from building owner Chad Halvorson. He remodeled the structure a few years ago, creating two retail spaces, one of which Elizabeth’s Fine Jewelry moved into late in 2011.
The salon will employ four people: Mary, a talented niece and nephew in her family, and also a good friend of hers. Each person doing nails is licensed by the state, as is the overall shop.
“I’ve been doing nails for about 13 years,” she said, adding that the friend who will work with her has 15 years of experience.
Lam said she’s worked at many nail salons and has dreamed for many years of opening her own place.
She’s worked in some less-than-favorable conditions and says not all salons treat their employees well -- another difficulty she can overcome being an owner and operator.
She said “everything” has been a little scary, especially spending a lot of money in anticipation that the business will earn it back.
But she says it’s better to endure some stress and achieve her goals than to never try at all.
Lam says her daughters also represent major reasons why she ventured to become a business owner. She wants to set a good example for them.
She said it’s important to demonstrate to them, “If they work hard, they can achieve big things.”
Tip Top Nails accepts appointments and walk-in clients and is open during these hours:
- 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
- Noon to 5 p.m.
Reach the salon by phone at 715-796-2269.