This Salon of Distinction subject hails from Bedford. Not Bedford Falls (with a nod to Capra) or Bedrock (sorry, Fred). Nope, it’s Bedford, PA – home of The Glow, owned by recent Sun is Life® Certification grad, Kelly Case. Being a fellow Pennsylvanian, it was easy for me to strike up conversation for our interview and I enjoyed her down-to-earth enthusiasm. Let’s learn about what makes The Glow go!
IST: Many operators get their start in the tan biz by buying an existing salon where they once tanned. How did you get your start?
KC: I had been a tanner for several years and always enjoyed the experience. My husband Tom and I have a 15-year-old daughter, Kendall. When she was born, we decided my “full-time” job would be to stay home with her. I was active with her school and activities, volunteered in our community and helped with my husband’s business but as Kendall got older, I realized I wanted something more challenging. The previous owner of the salon had reached out and said she was thinking about selling so we decided to take on this new adventure. It’s a family affair as I am so fortunate to have my mom Janet, brother Matt and sister-in-law, Tricia help with the business. Kendall will work here as her summer job and has already started training. I was so fortunate to retain a previous employee Rachel, and find two great additions, Olivia and Lexi. We have a great team/family atmosphere!
IST: COVID mandates certainly impacted small businesses, including tanning salons. Did you have to adjust your business model?
KC: When we opened as The Glow in September 2021, the sanitation guidelines had been established and I just followed those protocols. We continue to adhere to strict cleaning procedures and make sure our guests enjoy a clean, safe, sanitized facility. Our team only knows how to accomplish the sanitization standards at 100% perfection.
IST: You recently completed Sun is Life Training. What insights can you share about the education you received and the importance of salon operator certification?
KC: Sun is Life was such a comprehensive overview and I believe we learned so much essential information. It is so important to be educated about tanning and relay our knowledge to our guests. They trust us to know the products and equipment and we have to make sure we do! We take the education factor very seriously and follow all safety precautions – 24 hours between sessions, eyewear, proper lotion, etc. I know our tanners appreciate the time and attention we give them and feel at ease, especially when first starting the tanning process.
IST: The Sun is Life program covers salon operations and resolving issues with the unruly or dissatisfied tanner is part of it. Do you have an example of a “testy” tanner and how you made things right?
KC: People are interesting! We are very fortunate to have the best customers. Bradford is a small community and everyone knows each other. We pride ourselves on our personal service. The staff knows 98% of our client base and greets them by name, knows something about them and/or their family, what lotions they like (or would like) and which beds they prefer. If we encounter a “stressful” situation, we make every effort to get all the information, assure them the problem will be reviewed and if I am not present, that I will be made aware. We maintain honor and integrity through all aspects of our business.
IST: What are your 3-5 year business goals?
KC: People tan for so many reasons. I am overwhelmed by the appreciation our guests convey about how good it makes them feel. My 3-5 year goals include continuing education on both the equipment and the products we sell. There is always something new to learn and we are the messengers to provide our tanners with the best, most up-to-date information. I plan to purchase new equipment and continue to maintain a pleasant and helpful workforce. I want to continue providing a full spectrum of high-quality products that our entire demographic can afford and appreciate. We enjoy being active in our community and participating in special events, as well as offering tanning specials and deals that our guests look forward to. At The Glow, our goal is to provide a magnificent tanning experience that every guest enjoys and that leaves them more relaxed and happier than when they walked into our salon.
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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