New nail salon a family affair for cousins

Posted on 25 Feb 2010 at 6:40pm
By DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Vietnamese immigrants Mai, Nguyen say they have a nail salon that offers a relaxing, refreshing experience for men and women

FAMILY BUSINESS | When the previous owner decided to sell, cousins Aaron Nguyen, seated, and Alex Mai jumped at the chance to buy the nail salon on Cedar Springs Road where they worked. They have now remodeled the shop to offer a comfortable atmosphere for men and women. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

After taking over The Nail Spa on Cedar Springs Road in December, Alex Mai and his cousin Aaron Nguyen closed the shop for a month to remodel.

Now it’s reopened with a remodel that includes everything from fresh paint to custom-made marble top manicure tables.

Mai has been in Dallas for seven years. He graduated from University of Texas at Dallas with an accounting degree but decided he was more interested in owning his own business.

"I like to do business," Mai said. "Aaron suggested cosmetology school."
His cousin was already doing nails in Dallas, so Mai decided to get his license so that he could team with Nguyen and open a salon.

Nguyen, who has been in Dallas 13 years, came to the United States with his family. His father fought with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. After the war, the new communist government sent him to a "re-education camp." After his release, the United States granted him and his family asylum.

Mai was born in Saigon. He laughed at the official name, "Ho Chi Minh City," and said no one calls it that. He came to this country a few years after his relatives on a student visa and has gained U.S. citizenship.

After working at the salon for a year, Mai said the previous owner of the space decided to sell the business. The cousins jumped at the chance to buy it.

Before reopening, they added three enclosed rooms for facials, massages and waxing. For atmosphere, they installed large screen TVs, but keep the captioning on and pipe in relaxing music.

Fresh flowers are always out and the latest in equipment sterilization has been added. They have more manicure stations and pedicure chairs with foot spas than the previous owners.

And business has been so good that they have a larger staff than the previous owner had.

Their concept was a masculine salon that would appeal to both men and women.
Mai said, "Cut and buff, short and clean is what most men want."

He said his male clients love pedicures and facials as well as a massage. Many come for a spa day, which, he said, is two or three hours.

He recommends a deep-cleaning vitamin C facial to hydrate and cleanse the skin and fight aging.

A computer to check e-mail and a wireless connection for laptops are available while waiting. Through February, a 20 percent grand opening special is offered for all services. In March, they are holding "happy hour." From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., everything will be 15 percent off. And drinks, including beer and wine, are always complimentary.

The Nail Spa, 4020 Cedar Springs Road. 214-526-6245. TheNailSpaDallas.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 26, 2010.

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