When Donna Small took over the former Countryside Tan salon on East Main Street in January, she hoped it would become something like a tropical escape for her clients.
The lifelong Montezuma County resident was looking for an extra source of income as her husband approached retirement. She rented the building, bought some of the remaining equipment and renamed it Country Tan and More. Business hasn’t grown as fast as she would like, she said, but with some new signage and the addition of a “red light therapy” bed, more people have been discovering the salon recently.
Small doesn’t have a background in skin care, but she has had a long career in business. She owned Small Wonders and Gifts, a Main Street store that specialized in firefighter and police memorabilia, until it closed several years ago. Her new business, she said, is designed to be a comforting getaway for Montezuma County residents.
“I like to be somewhere where it makes people feel better about themselves,” Small said. “It’s relaxing in there. ... It’s your time.”
Country Tan and More offers two tanning beds and a stand-up tanning booth. The “More” in the name mainly refers to red light therapy, a treatment that is designed to relieve pain and rejuvenate skin through infrared light. While the regular tanning equipment came with the salon’s building, Small added the red light bed as an option for people who want some of the tanning experience without the look. She also sells spray tan services and a variety of beauty products, including jewelry.
Although it varies from season to season, right now Small said she gets about 20 customers on a good day. Her business conveniently shares a building with a aesthetician and chiropractor’s offices, but it’s set back too far from the highway to be easily seen, so she added a few brightly colored signs near the entrance to the parking lot. Her ultimate goal is to get so busy that she’ll need to buy more tanning beds, she said.
For now, though, she said she’s focused on making her current customers happy. It’s part of the reason she has only hired two part-time employees so far, opting to do most of the work in the shop herself.
“You have to be there to spend that time and get to know (the customers),” she said.