Tropic Tan in Palmyra, VA saved one man’s social life and resolved a community’s quandary about catching some rays close to home.
Being a people person, Rick McClure found life after retiring from the fire department to be a bit boring. To improve his social life, he decided to go into business for himself and chose to sell sunshine for a living. “My wife and stepdaughters suggested I open a salon,” said Rick. “They’re all avid tanners and we’ve used a commercial sunbed in our home for years. My oldest stepdaughter even works at a tanning salon in Richmond.” Rick decided to purchase a facility in his area that had been closed for five months because it was fully furnished and ready to go. “When I purchased it,” he added, “the former owner had taken everything but the tanning units!”
Opening a tanning salon for his wife and stepdaughters to operate was Rick’s original plan; but that soon changed after he spent some time behind the counter. “I love it!” he exclaimed. “I’m a very social person by nature, so I enjoy getting to know everyone who comes in for a tan.” While opening the business in February 2013 might have made Rick miss the peak months, he’s had no problem attracting tanners. The salon is located in a very rural area and once the former owner shut the place down, he says many former tanners found themselves having to drive long distances to the nearest salon. Opening Tropic Tan once again gave these folks a place to tan that was close to home. “The first thing they’d say when they walked in was, ‘You’re not the guy who used to own this,’” Rick said. “The second thing was ‘thank you’ for opening the salon!”
As a new salon owner, Rick is thankful to have Sun Is Life® Training and Certification to help guide him. “I took the certification class at the Southeastern Tanning Expo (Four Seasons Sales & Service),” he said, “and it was very informative. I was very impressed by the amount of useful information that was packed into one session, and the feedback from Tony Brown (Sun Is Life Director) and other salon owners was very valuable.” Rick plans to have his staff take the Sun Is Life training modules online. “I would recommend this to anyone who owns a tanning salon,” he said. “The information is very helpful and the program’s message to avoid making health claims about tanning is important for our industry.”
After a year in the tan biz, Rick loves his new life as a salon owner and has big plans for Tropic Tan. “Some of the smaller communities around us are underserved,” he said, “and I believe that a few smaller salons would be enough for these folks to get a great tan close to home. I’m also strongly considering adding custom spray-tanning.” Whatever his decision, Rick is certain about one thing – he’ll happily continue enjoying interaction with his salon guests and providing a service that helps them feel better about themselves.
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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