Mary Ann Messere, who owns seven nail salons located in indoor malls in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, is facing a complaint filed by the New Jersey Board of Health that she’s afraid could cause her to close one of the salon.

The cause of the compliant? Salon odor. A tenant in neighboring business in the Echelon, N.J., mall has complained of odor to the New Jersey Board of Health for the past year. His complaints cased the Board to file a complaint against her salon, The Nailery International, in Camden, N.J., county court.

A court hearing is scheduled for March. Since the complaint was filed, Messere has installed vented manicure tables and an air-cleaning system, and the mall has installed an air-exhaust system within the nail salon that vents salon air outside. Messere even had OSHA come to the salon and measure the amount of harmful chemicals in the air. OSHA concluded the salon was safe, and Messere faxed OSHA’s finding to the Board of Health. You’d think that would be enough, but the Board has not withdrawn the filing. Part of the reason is the salon neighbor, Staurt Portnoy of Vac & Sew Center in the Echelon Mall, responds, “The smell was bothering lots of people, other store staff and their customers, but no one wanted to do anything about it but mw. What they did has done some good, but the smell is not eliminated all the time.”

Portnoy says the smell does not reach into his store, but it reaches into the common areas of the mall, where customers walk. “My customer come in and asks, “How can you put up with the smell?” says Portnoy. What would end the problem for him, he say, would be to close off the nail salon from the rest of the mall or to have a ventilation system that exhausted all the common area air to the outside.

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