Salon, massage businesses open in renovated building (10/29/09)

Oct. 29, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

This past Columbus Day was the beginning of a “new world,” said salon owners Heather Ingham and Veronica Platt. Their company, Studio Ten, opened that day and became the first business to occupy the brand new Sola Salon.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Studio Ten owners Heather Ingham (left) and Veronica Platt are the first tenants to rent space at Sola Salon, located at 2141 Essex Road.

Located at 2141 Essex Road between Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel and Taft Corners Shopping Center, Sola Salon is the first business to open in the renovated building.

Massage Envy, a national franchise launching its first Vermont location, will open next month.

The Williston location of Sola Salon, which has franchises in 16 states, offers 16 studios for salon professionals to rent and open their own business. For Ingham and Platt, it was an opportunity to realize a dream of owning an establishment.

“We wanted a change and this just popped up at the right time,” said Platt, who, along with Ingham, worked as a salon professional at Richmond’s Bridge Street Hair.

Sola Salon’s franchise co-owner Phil Tonks said he hopes to attract upstarts like Studio Ten to his business. He’s looking for hair professionals and stylists tired of working at someone else’s salon or renting a chair at a professional space.

“This is exactly like opening your own business,” Tonks said. “You are in charge. You can decide how often you want to work. You can decide what kind of hours you want.”

The 16 salon spaces, both large and small, come with sinks, chairs, space for extra equipment and places to sell hair and beauty products. Two larger spaces, including the one occupied by Studio Ten, have two stylist stations.

Tonks said he’s looking for stylists who have experience and a solid client list.

Ingham said the key to Studio Ten’s opening in Williston was the 200 to 300 clients she and Platt hope to attract.

“If you don’t have a client base, you’re not going to make it here,” Ingham said.

Tonks owns Sola Salon along with his wife Julie Tonks. They also own Grand View Winery in East Calais.

Phil Tonks said opening the Williston franchise was something he couldn’t pass up. His son-in-law owns four successful Sola Salons in and around Las Vegas. Despite the differences between Nevada and Vermont, Phil Tonks believes the Sola Salon idea can work anywhere.

Tonks is also looking to expand into the Boston area, where he has franchise rights.


Massage Envy

Opening in the same building in the second week of November is Massage Envy, a national franchise chain with more than 600 locations in 42 states. Owner Amy Johnston said she wanted to open a Massage Envy after her friend inquired why there wasn’t a location in Vermont. After visiting one, Johnston became convinced the Burlington area would be a perfect fit.

Massage Envy will have 13 massage rooms and, to start, 10 to 12 massage therapists. Johnston is in the process of hiring therapists from Vermont’s large pool of applicants.

“All massage therapists we hire need to  be able to do Swedish and deep tissue (massages), because that’s what’s most requested,” Johnston said.

She’s also looking for therapists who have experience in specialty massages.

Clients can expect to pay an introductory fee of $39 for their first massage; subsequent massages would cost twice as much. If interested, however, customers can become members for $59 a month, which includes one 50-minute massage. Subsequent massages and spa treatments for members will cost $39, Johnston said.

“It’s a great deal if you become a regular visitor,” she said.

For more information about Massage Envy, call 879-0888. For information about Sola Salons, call 878-9906. To reach Studio Ten, call Heather Ingham at 363-1583 or Veronica Platt at 598-9729.