What happens when creative entrepreneurs combine their passions to build multipurpose businesses? You get more than your average nail salon.
Strawberry Mountain Salon. Spa. Gym., White Salmon, Wash.
Strawberry Mountain’s expansions are seen here from the outside of the building. On the far left is the fitness area, then salon and spa.
Connie Riley opened Strawberry Mountain Salon in 1978 with two stylist chairs in a 450-sq.-ft. building. Around 1992, she expanded to make room for nails, massage, facials, and a sauna. In 2007 she added a gym, for a total of 7,000-sq.-ft. Riley says several clients had recommended she add workout equipment because there was no gym nearby. She took their advice, eventually adding a complete fitness center. “Our motto is ‘Passionate about your quality of life,’” explains Riley. “So the gym fit into our philosophy well.” Open 24/7, the gym takes up the entire basement of her building. Clients enjoy all the amenities you would expect, plus they have access to a Crossfit gym, which her son runs out of one of the classrooms.
The salon is on the top level, offering hair services, pedicures, manicures, and gel enhancements, plus a private spa area where clients enjoy massage. Both businesses can be accessed from street level; internally, a set of stairs connects the two.
The fitness facility and salon naturally funnel clients to each other, says Riley. “Clients become gym members and gym members call to make salon appointments,” she explains. One factor Riley recognizes as a possible drawback is that all gym transactions go through the salon system, including memberships. “That means people need to come into the salon to inquire about the gym,” says Riley. “But we found it didn’t make sense to keep the outside door to the gym open all the time, because it required a staff member to remain at the front desk.” This way, clients are greeted by salon staff. Once they become members, they gain full access. Riley issues swipe cards that open gym doors anytime day or night.
The pedi chairs at Strawberry Mountain are unique, fitting for a location that offers clients a one-of-a-kind salon experience.
Nail techs and other service providers are able to use the gym for free, but since salon staff work as independent contractors, no discounts on salon services are offered to those who work in the gym. Overall, the salon/gym has worked well for Riley; however, she admits it’s a lot of work. Riley’s been quoted as saying, “If I utter the word expansion again, get me to a therapist immediately.”