Finalists Face the Moment of Truth

It was September 28, just one day before notifying the NAILS Salon of the Year Awards finalists.

<p>Nail Technician of the Year Athena Elliott was away from her post working at a charity event when the call that she was a finalist came through.</p>

It was September 28, just one day before notifying the NAILS Salon of the Year Awards finalists. Before the day was out, Karen Van Der Eems called to tell us that – in the case that Amour Nail Salon & Spas was a finalist – no one would be available to receive the call the following day. As it turns out, Hurricane Georges was weaving its wobbly course toward her salon in Pembroke Pines, Fla., an area where more than 540,000 people were forced to evacuate. (We are pleased to report that the salon survived intact).

On September 29, the calls were final made. When we called Nail Technician of the Year finalist Georgette Garber-Torell of Hottest Touch Salon in Indian Harbor Beach, Fla., she was sure it was a prank call from cohort and NAILS webmaster Debbie Doerrlamm (who is known for practical jokes). When she realized the call was legitimate, Georgette said, “After seeing Shari Finger’s entry last year, I didn’t think I had a chance. I put the entry together in four days, and haven’t stopped thinking about I for a minute since I mailed it in.”

When we contacted Nanci Soltani, owner of Fandango in Santa Rosa, Calif., she laughed, explaining that she and her staff had been pretending all week that they were already winners. Nanci then admitted that they kept a bottle of champagne by the phone – just in case.

When we tried to reach finalist Athena Elliott at The Upper Hand in Houston, she wasn’t there but had left her cellular number just in case. As it turns out, Elliott was in the midst of working at a community charity event when her phone rang. Athena told the NAILS editor, “A call from Publishers’ Clearing House couldn’t have made me happier.”

Earlier in the week, finalist Rebecca Moore, owner of All About Nails in Northampton, Pa., was interviewed for an upcoming article in NAILS. The editor she had dealt with called and said, “Becky, I have one more question for you in regards to the story… Just kidding – you’re a finalist!” Moore maintained her composure, saying, “Do you realize that I’ve been waiting by the phone all day, but not for another interview.”

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