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Blueprint of a First Year

Before and After Salon Renovation (with Photos!)

by NAILS Magazine | July 24, 2013 | Bookmark +

Three weeks open, and things are pretty normal. My clients can't believe the place looks like it does, especially since the last place was pretty colorless. I'm happy and relieved now that I'm out of the old crazy place.

I should probably back up though, seeing as though the last post was about the final stages of moving. So the last week in June I had Wednesday through Sunday off to finish painting, decorating, and moving completely out of the old place. The bar got installed successfully, but the glass that was special ordered did not come in! So the guy had someone else that he gets glass from cut two pieces for the bar top until the big piece came. So no worries, everything got done on time there.

The plumbing was a nightmare because I learned just before inspection that the power company had to come out to service the water valve outside -- and they are slow as molasses. I literally had no plumbing until Wednesday, and my inspection was on Friday! I waited around for most of the day on Monday during my extended lunch break, but no one showed up until the next day. So the water issue for the pedicure platform finally got resolved before my inspection so I had nothing to worry about there.

So on Wednesday morning, it was time to pick up the van to move and it's literally two people to move eight chairs and all the stuff out of my old salon. Little or not, you'd be shocked what you can fit into 250 sq. ft. I had no trouble getting my furniture from the store, but I had a time packing at the last minute. I never knew how much stuff I had tucked away in that place. I will say this though, working at FedEx all those years helped me pack the van to capacity. So, other than a few small things, we only had to make one trip.

An hour and a half later and we're on our way to the new salon. After almost clearing the floor in the front room, it gets covered right back up! It took 'til the next day to make any significant progress. The fun part: I moved on Wednesday, inspection was on Friday, and the soft opening was stress or anything...tuh!! I worked the mess out of my cousin and niece! We were all unpacking, cleaning, I'm painting the bar top, and she's putting together chairs. I really thought those chairs would have been together already; apparently I was wrong. Bar stools galore!

Thursday, the day before inspection: Painting is still happening, polish racks are just going up, the seating bench is just now being built and upholstered, and the floor has to sealed. Not to mention, the cabinets are completely bare and all products, implements, and containers are still in boxes. Did I mention inspection is less than 24 hours from now?! Oh yeah, that. So I put together the new cabinet and empty the boxes and start organizing after I finally finished the seating bench.

Then the flooring in the restroom has to be done and then it has to be cleaned, because finally, the paint is finished and there is no danger of paint getting on my super light flooring. Cleaning, unpacking, organizing, dusting, sweeping, assembling, painting, flooring, mounting...well, you get the point, I was a wreck! So by the end of the day (for normal people), the polish racks have gone up, the bench is finished, all furniture is assembled, the walls are finished, the restroom is done; now comes time for the late night work. I have to finish organizing everything needed for inspection as well as finish painting the now only 60% finished bar (which I didn't). Now don't get me wrong, this work was not done 100% be me; I had my cousins, boyfriend, and niece during the day helping with painting and some assembling. Now it's 3 a.m., and I'm finally finished with everything I need for the inspection, so if push came to shove, I'd make it through with a couple of judgmental looks along the way.

So after eight hours (collectively) of sleep over the past 48 hours, here's Friday morning and the inspection is sometime before 12 p.m. I arrive around 8:30 a.m. and shortly after AT&T arrives to install the internet and phone. So while all this confusion is going on the inspector arrives about 10-ish.

Now he has a reputation of being a bad guy with a bad attitude, but when he walks in my door he has the biggest smile on his face and was excited to be here. So he starts down the checklist and once everything checks out he gives me the same speech he gave me when I first opened my doors in the old space: "You're going to do great things here; I don't expect you to be here long -- make lots of money." Then he reminds me of what he said when he first met me which was I was going to outgrow that place and I needed to be somewhere to grow, he was proud his prediction came to fruition. He gave me his blessings and "100" score and wished me luck.

Now, there's more work to be done because the soft opening is the next day and there is much more to be done! I immediately start tearing up the place again. Now I need to put the electrical outlet/light switch covers on, boxes still need to be unpacked, I need to get the receptionist area together, hang all the canvases, put cases on the pillows, and get the window seats cleaned off. AT&T finally gets through, and the Internet and phone is going. So now the TV has to be mounted, the surround sound has to be hooked up, and the speakers mounted. By this time my boyfriend has to ditch me because he has an art show the same day as my soft opening. So I'm up on a ladder by myself mounting speakers and routing wires, and I finally get to the bar again and I finally finish it and I'm home bound.

Now today I slept in a little bit, I woke up around 10-ish and got to the salon around noon to clean up and prepare. There was a bit of a mess laying around, so my niece and I clean up everything and head to the store to get some refreshments. Once I get back I have one of my oldest clients there waiting on me. I promised her I would give her a mani-pedi because I completely neglected her the past week. So I service her and my other friend shows up to help set up and finish cleaning a little. I spent the last 30 minutes hanging vinyl records and their covers and at 2:47pm I got a chance to sit down. My mom was the first of nearly 50 people to show that day. My grandparents came and my grandfather got a chance to see what his investment looked like, my pastor and his wife came, and he prayed and blessed the salon (Bible-belt living, gotta love it), my boyfriend even stopped through before his art show, and all clients and contributors, old and new. The day was perfect! Even the owner of Muddy's Bake Shop and some of her employees came to support. So after all the fellowship and gathering 7 p.m. came, and I rushed off to my boyfriend's art show.

Lastly, I was on the local news, Fox13 on the 4th of July talking about summer nail trends and promoting the new location. Despite me being nervous, I had a very cool and calm demeanor and it never translated on camera. Although, the lady did get the name of my business wrong on air and I instinctively corrected her. I didn't really mean to come off as being antipathetic. The interview went well otherwise, and I got some exposure for the business. I'm interested to see what the future holds for Graffiti Nail Bar!

— Lauren, Graffiti Nail Bar, Memphis, Tenn.

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