Could the fun and sun of the Bahamas ever exist in Northern Michigan? It can and does at Bahama Breeze Tanning in Alpena!
“You want to buy my business? You have two weeks to decide.” That’s what the owner of a tanning salon told Therese “TC” Hite 12 years ago. She and her husband Dave owned and operated the Bay Motel across the street from the salon, and she had told the owner she was interested in purchasing it. She just didn’t expect him to call and demand she do it so abruptly! “I am always looking for ways to diversify,” said TC, “so I decided to purchase the salon and relocate it to the hotel. The day we opened, we only had four tanning rooms, but that didn’t stop a line of people from forming outside our doors that morning!”
TC named her new business Bay Breeze Tanning, but this sounded too much like the name of another salon in town. She asked her clients to make suggestions and eventually arrived at Bahama Breeze Tanning. “I purchased equipment from a few hair salons that had offered tanning services and added the units to my salon,” TC explained. “I wanted to offer more options to our guests and they appreciated it.” Today, Bahama Breeze has eight tanning units by Sunvision and TanAmerica, as well as the original HEX stand-up she’s had since purchasing the salon.
“When I started this business,” TC said, “I understood the importance of training and education and I still believe it’s important. I’m glad I earned my Sun Is Life certification. It offered a lot of great information and was very easy to pick up and understand.” Because of her former experience in the nutrition industry, TC understands the importance of avoiding health claims about products and services, and was impressed to see that Sun Is Life applies this philosophy to indoor tanning.
Because she’s in her 60s, TC says she has no grandiose plans for the future of Bahama Breeze Tanning. “I just want to continue increasing our tanning and spray-tanning business, helping our guests look good and feel better about themselves,” she said. “That’s what I’ve always loved about this business: helping people to relax and feel good. I love to see each one of our guests walk out the door with the biggest smiles on their faces.”
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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