A family-friendly atmosphere and amazing tanning results help keep the lights shining at Eternal Sunn Tanning Salon in Flat Rock, NC.
Eternal Sunn’s name gives a hint as to the salon’s origin. The business is in its second incarnation – the result of one couple purchasing an existing tanning facility, refurbishing it and enjoying the success that comes with it. In this case, Randy and Robin Bishop purchased the salon two years ago and have turned it into a thriving, family business through strategic marketing, attentive customer service and equipment known for delivering results that keep people talking. Now, the couple is considering expansion of their venture to the opposite side of town!
Two for One
Robin Bishop has always enjoyed indoor tanning, and to Randy, the thought of owning and operating a salon seemed like the perfect way to pursue a family business. “My husband is a technician for a communications company and I’m the cafeteria manager for Henderson County Public Schools; but Randy wanted us to be in business for ourselves,” she said. “A friend of his knew the owner of a tanning salon in town and happened to know that she was going through a divorce and wanted to sell her business. He mentioned this to Randy, and he said we should go for it.” The couple purchased the 2,000 square-foot facility, its nine tanning units and client database… along with a couple surprises. “Two of the nine tanning units had to be repaired, and all of them had to be cleaned and re-lamped,” she added.
In June 2010, Randy and Robin had the opportunity to add to their growing tanning salon business, and they jumped at it. “Before we took ownership of Eternal Sunn, Robin purchased a tanning package at another facility,” Randy said. “After we took over the salon, she called the other place to cancel her membership and the owner said she wished we’d told her we were purchasing Eternal Sunn because she would’ve sold us her salon. She had four Ergoline tanning units that were very popular with tanners in our town, so we told her we’d be happy to sit down and discuss this with her.” By June, they purchased the other salon’s equipment and client database. “When people heard those Ergoline units were now at Eternal Sunn, our business really took off!” he exclaimed.
To keep the “sun” shining at Eternal Sunn, the salon offers 11 tanning units – five Sportarredo Holiday 45 sunbeds, three Ergoline Ambition 300, a Sportarredo Kombi 1000, a Sportarredo Summer 75 and an Ergoline Open Sun 1050 – as well as a Norvell Skin Solutions Auto Revolution sunless booth and a California Tan MobileBronzer. Lotions by Australian Gold, California Tan, Designer Skin, Devoted Creations, Ed Hardy Tanning, Supre Tan, Swedish Beauty and Tan Inc. line the shelves while Helios software is used to operate the business. “When we opened this salon, we did so with the idea of having a family business, and I’m happy to say we’ve remained that way,” Robin said. “Our daughter, Miranda and our niece, Michaela Bishop, both work here and our son, Garrett, helps Randy with maintenance.”
Presentation is Everything
When it comes to marketing and promotions, the Bishops say that BOGO – buy one, get one – is always a great way to get people through the doors. “We tried placing coupons in our local newspaper; but we get a bigger response when we put them on our Facebook page and in a local coupon mailer,” Robin said. “Any type of buy-one, get-one free deal – buy two weeks, get two weeks, or buy one high-pressure session and get one free – tends to be very effective. We’ve also had a lot of success selling coupons with a $50 value for $25, and we even honor all of our competitors’ coupons, which our clients appreciate.”
Another thing that’s helped boost Eternal Sunn’s lotion sales, Randy says, is the addition of SalonSense TV. “We have more lotion on hand than any other salon in town – we have a huge display filled with just about every brand out there,” he said. “When you have this much product, it can be difficult to keep up with all the details on every single bottle. With SalonSense TV, all of our staff can instantly access all the selling points of any product on our shelves, and having that information at our fingertips has definitely boosted sales.”
Nowadays, Randy and Robin keep busy serving up to 200 clients per day during Eternal Sunn’s peak months, and between 40-50 per day during the off-peak times. The salon is in such demand the couple says, that they’ve considered opening another one. “We’ve had many clients ask us to open a location on the north end of town,” he said. “The people who live there don’t have a salon close by, so they drive all the way down to tan here, which we’re pleased about; but we would love to make it convenient for them. Opening another facility is a definite possibility – it all depends on how this year goes.”
Operating Eternal Sunn has been more than just a business for Randy and Robin Bishop, it’s also been a way for the couple to connect with their community. “Randy comes from a very big family and I thought we knew everyone in town, but we’re meeting new people almost every day,” Robin said. “I love talking with everyone who comes through our doors and getting to know as many of them as possible. Building relationships with our clients only helps us to serve them better and help them achieve their tanning goals.”
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."
Copyright 2020 ist Magazine