Carmen La Sprisa, who is one of the newest “tech coaches” for Nail Tek, referred me to Ambiance by Michael Angelo during a recent trip to Florida. The mood and atmosphere at this full-service salon in Boca Raton suited me, even though I consider myself a tough customer. I was there to do my first On the Road, which was great because I’m the only guy on the NAILS staff and I’m always drawing the short straw when it comes to visiting our readers because I don’t wear acrylics or gels or even polish. (OK, there was that one time when I wore polish to celebrate NAILS winning a Maggie Award.)
The owners, Michael Angelo (yes, that’s his real name) and his wife Debra Razzo have owned and operated the salon since early 1996. You get the feeling they leave nothing to chance and are very hands-on owners. Razzo spent some time explaining the renovations to me. “When we first bought the salon, it had a late ‘70s feel,” she said. “Even though it was a well-maintained salon with a very good clientele, we decided to evolve toward something contemporary but classic.”
Their full-time nail technician Dana Parlato was not available to do my manicure, so Joseph Workman (Is everyone named so appropriately?), who is not only a nail tech but a hairstylist extraordinaire, stepped in. Joseph is the all-purpose man-about-the-salon (after doing my nails he even convinced me to let him streak my hair). I relaxed to get my service and commented on how much I liked the music in the salon. Joe said, “It should never be noticeable; the volume and selection need to be just right.” A class act.
Joe gave me the basic “off the rack” manicure, clipping, buffing, and bringing my nails to a natural high-gloss shine with a four-way block. Joe owned his own salon in Lancaster, Pa., until moving to Boca 18 months ago and joining Ambiance. “I just couldn’t take the cold weather anymore,” he explained. Workman says that more and more men are coming into the salon for pedicures to use gift certificates from their wives. “Once they’ve had one, they want to come back,” he says.
The salon has a beautiful brochure spelling out all of its treatments and pricing. The owners say that clients these days are more educated about salon services than in the past. “We make our clients our first and foremost priority – they’re the reason we’re here,” Angelo says.