The indoor tanning industry is an enjoyable one and there are so many positive things here for everyone to enjoy. For example, more and more people are following their dreams of becoming their own bosses by opening and operating tanning salons. Since these “newbies” continue to strengthen our industry, ist Magazine wishes to recognize them with this monthly “Welcome Wagon” series. We invite you, our loyal readers, to join us in giving them the friendly greeting they deserve!
Recently opened by a 21-year-old tanning enthusiast, Coastal Tanning Zone continues to make big waves in the small town of Leland, NC.
When she was 18, Lexi Bridge was a regular tanner at a salon in a nearby town. One day, the owner asked her if she wanted to work there, which Lexi did for nearly two years. “Back then, I was very good at selling lotions,” she said. “Working there also taught me so much about salon operations.” Eventually, Lexi said goodbye to that job when she moved 45 miles away and got involved with college and other career paths. Through this process, Lexi realized that she wanted to own and operate a tanning salon, so she and her mother, Irene, began talking with a local salon owner about purchasing his business. “Unfortunately, his salon wasn’t worth the price he was asking,” she said, “so I decided to find a place to open our own business from the ground up.”
Lexi found an empty storefront – a former chiropractor’s office – in a busy shopping center, and she knew it would be the perfect place for her salon. “While we were remodeling the space,” Lexi said, “we put a sign out front that said, ‘Tanning salon coming soon.’ The word-of-mouth must have really spread from that because we had customers all day long on our first day of business.” Lexi’s customer service skills, which she acquired from her past employment experiences, continue to make guests feel at home when they’re in the Coastal Tanning Zone, and she maintains an open-door policy with them. “We encourage guests to share their experiences with us and offer any suggestions for improvement,” Lexi added. “We do everything we can to keep them happy.”
Lexi says she loves her career in indoor tanning enough to know she wants to achieve more in the industry. On the immediate horizon, she’s in the process of adding a Hydration Station and teeth-whitening to her business and from there, her plans get bigger. “There are many small towns here in North Carolina that don’t have salons,” Lexi said. “I’d like to open a few smaller locations in these towns so the people there won’t have to drive to the bigger cities to get a tan. My goal is to open our second store within the next two years, with an ultimate goal of having five or more locations in ten years.”
A 14-year industry veteran, John "Ribby" Ribner has written hundreds of
articles for IST Magazine and, as Director of Editorial Content, has also
helped guide the publication's evolution. Ribby is a graduate of Central
Michigan University's journalism program and has brought many years of newspaper reporting experience to his position of Head Writer. He is also the author of three novels, "Legacy of the Bear," "Prophecy of the Bear" and "World So Dark."
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