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There’s a new hair salon in Del Ray and it’s named after a Taylor Swift song. Enchant Hair Co. opened at 2202 Mount Vernon Avenue in January, and it’s named after Swift’s song Enchanted.

“I love Taylor Swift,” owner Monica Frias told ALXnow. “She’s like a reflection of my personality.”

The salon is the former home to Kiskadee, a boutique that closed in 2022. Frias toured the two-level building last October, signed the lease in November and spent two months renovating the interior and moving in equipment.

Frias grew up in the area and is a Mount Vernon High School graduate. At Mount Vernon, she took cosmetology and after graduating got her cosmetology license and started working in hair salons. It took her eight years to open her own business, which to this point has gotten a soft launch. She says that she’s working on a new website for the salon and will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting sometime in March.

“I’m still really young, but I’m very good business-wise,” Frias said. “Right now, since I don’t have as many stylists as I eventually want to get, I have to do a lot of physical work to myself. I work all day here behind the chair and then I go home to like another three, four hours of editing videos, working on marketing for the salon, or working on my social media.”

Frias is active on social media, with more than 5,500 followers on Instagram and more than 55,000 followers on TikTok.

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Alexandria land use attorney Cathy Puskar claps at the Chamber ALX Best In Business awards, October 27, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Chamber ALX has released the finalists for the Best in Business Awards, and the top businesses will be announced at a gala in Old Town next month.

It’s no secret that Don Simpson, Jr. is the chamber’s 2023 business leader of the year, since that cat was let out of the bag last month. Just who will receive the other highly coveted awards, however, is still secret. This year’s nominees are listed below, and winners are determined by a panel of previous awardees.

The Best in Business Awards, presented by Burke & Herbert Bank, will be held at the Westin Old Town Alexandria (400 Courthouse Square) from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Octo. 12. The event costs $125 for members and $150 for non-members.

Land use attorney Cathy Puskar was named business leader of the year last year. Read more about last year’s event here.

Alexandria’s 2023 Best In Business finalists

Small Business of the Year

Medium Business of the Year

Large Business of the Year

Rising Star Business of the Year

Nonprofit & Association of the Year

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Glynn Jones Salon at 720 King Street (via City of Alexandria)

Alexandria planning staff are recommending that City Council reverse a ruling by the Board of Architectural Review and allow a hair salon to keep an after-the-fact paint job on its exterior.

In May, the city was notified that the Glynn Jones Salon at 720 King Street painted a large portion of its exterior the color gray. On July 6, the Board of Architectural Review unanimously voted to deny the salon a certificate of appropriateness for the work.

While the salon is located in the Old Town Historic District, city staff do not believe the work has any adverse effect on the previously unpainted masonry.

“The Board found that painting the building’s yellow brick was not appropriate since yellow brick buildings are rare in Alexandria and the material can be considered a character defining,” city staff reported. “(S)taff does not believe that the after-the-fact work of partially painting previously unpainted masonry has an adverse effect on the building at 720 King Street, nor does it diminish the historic character of the historic district.”

Anthony Hughes is representing the salon, and said in the appeal that the facade of the building was constructed in the 1960s and is not historic.

“The brick used in the construction is not historically significant, as it is not part of the original structure,” Hughes said. “Therefore, any alterations to the exterior, including painting, should be evaluated based on the existing planning guidelines and not restricted by the historical context of the area, but on a case-by-case basis.”

According to the city:

The building at 720 King Street was built between 1891 and 1896. However, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps show constant alterations and additions throughout the decades. The Sanborn Map of 1931 shows for the first time that the main building (front portion) was entirely made of brick. Therefore, the main building is considered an Early building (built before 1932) within the Old and Historic Alexandria District (Figure 2). However, the building underwent major renovations in 1967 (Permit # 24731) when the front/ north elevation was completely rebuilt, thus the front portion of the building is considered Late (built after 1931).

The Zoning Ordinance specifically prohibits painting previously unpainted masonry surfaces without BAR approval. However, the BAR does not regulate colors once buildings are already painted. The chosen color gray applied on the building’s storefront (without BAR approval) is subtle and does not subtract from or diminish the character of the building and/or the adjacent existing structures. Furthermore, the color gray has been historically appropriate to both Early and Late buildings within the historic districts.

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Perfect hair happiness is what Rubie Williams is going for.

Williams is the owner and chief stylist at Hair Nirvana at 5249 Duke Street (suite 202) in the West End, and says her business has grown the past decade mostly through word of mouth.

“I offer good service, love and I’m very fair on price,” Williams told ALXnow. “Those are the best things you can do that keep my customers coming back.”

From 2015 until last year, Williams also operated a mobile salon from a renovated 1992 Ford Rockwood. The recreational vehicle came in handy during the pandemic, but finally had to be retired and sold last year.

That’s right. Hair Nirvana is no longer traveling to its clients, but the smooth jazz they learned to love listening to in the RV is still playing at the brick and mortar salon.

“My son told me that I needed to make money off the RV, because it was just sitting there,” Williams said. “So, I sold it to a woman in California.”

Hair Nirvana offers hair services for women and men, waxing and nail services.

Williams, who works by appointment, said that she’s like a therapist for her clients. She’s a 1988 graduate of Lake Braddock Secondary School and got her first job as a stylist at Hair Cuttery in the Bradlee Shopping Center, where she worked for 12 years. She then moved to TC International Salon (also in Bradlee) before embarking on a solo career as a stylist and business owner.

“Once you are good at what you do and have positive attitude and good energy, your clients love that,” she said. “Then you listen to them and make life-changing connections.”

The salon is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is closed Friday and Sunday.

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Leave your stress behind, because a new luxury spa is holding its grand opening in Old Town next month.

MAI Glo Spa will formally open to the public on August 1 at 803 Franklin Street. The spa is located in the southwest quadrant of the city, directly across the street from the 7-Eleven at 800 Franklin Street.

The spa is owned by Amy Moore, a master esthetician and cosmetology instructor, who has been working at Soleil Salon and Spa (50 S. Pickett Street) in the West End for the last 15 years.

MAI Glo Spa will offer waxing services, lash enhancements, body treatments, facial rejuvenation treatments and nail treatments.

“I consistently focus on expanding my knowledge of the latest technological advancements through extensive training and certification including in microdermabrasion, dermaplane, variety peels, micro needling, IPL treatments, and more,” Moore wrote on her website.

Map via Google Maps

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Eyelash extensions at Amazing Lash Studio (via Facebook)

Need an eyelash extension? A new studio just opened up in Alexandria’s West End that will keep your lashes lush for weeks on end.

April Nickens opened her first Amazing Lash Studio franchise in the West End Village shopping center at 374 S. Pickett Street on March 24.

“I always say super heroes don’t always wear capes,” Nickens told ALXnow. “We wear lashes, too.”

Customers pay between $112 and $140 for membership for two eyelash extension refills every month. It takes about two hours to attach the extensions to individual lashes with a strong adhesive. The lashes stay on for about two weeks. Starting next month, the studio will also offer lash and brow tinting, brow eliminations and brow waxing.

Nickens has eight employees and 12 lash rooms, and says that she has room to grow in the space.

“I wake up every morning feeling beautiful and confident,” Nickens said. “The business part is good. I have a good group of young ladies who work with me, who started with me from the beginning.”

The Alexandria shop is located the former home of PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, (now at 1322 Prince Street). This the first of two franchises that Nickens has opened, and she’s currently shopping around for another location in D.C. and southern Maryland.

“We’re not shopping too aggressively now because we’re getting the Alexandria location up and running,” Nickens said. “We’ll hopefully be opening another studio within the next year.”

Nickens is also the director of operations for a political polling strategy company in D.C. She was drawn to eyelash extensions two years ago after her two daughters gave them as a gift for her 25th wedding anniversary.

“My daughters thought to dress me up with lashes,” she said. “I loved the way it made me feel. Afterwards, when we were looking at a number of franchises, I always came back to the lashes, mainly because of my daughters.”

Amazing Lash was founded in 2010, and is part of WellBiz Brands Inc., a franchise portfolio company operating Amazing Lash StudioFitness Together, and Elements Massage. There are more than 250 Amazing Lash franchises around the country, including locations in Ashburn, Woodbridge, Burke, Manassas, Forest and Gainesville.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. A grand opening will be held on Monday, May 1, at noon.

Via Amazing Lash/Facebook

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Amber + Slate is open at 123 N. Washington Street (courtesy photo)

There’s a new salon in Old Town.

Amber + Slate soft opened — a quieter trial run compared to the more bombastic “grand opening” — in January at 123 N. Washington Street in the former Circe Salon and Spa.

It’s an Aveda concept salon and only uses vegan, cruelty free, plant-powered products.

This is the second salon for owners Sally Frank and her partner Tricia Fisher, who opened their first location in Newport News in 2019. Frank signed a 10-year lease for the Old Town property.

“It’s definitely been a soft opening,” Frank said. “We wanted to be able to ease into it, and as we slowly grow we’re opening this spot up more.”

Amber + Slate is currently open Thursday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and hours will expand as its operation grows. The salon has a grand opening planned for Saturday, May 20.

“We’re capable of handling all textures of skin and hair, for women and men,” Frank said. “It’s really nice for people to come back and get that experience being back in a salon. Having that self care again, being around other people is very disarming for a lot of this anxiety that’s been piled on us over the last few years.”

The salon will unveil its spa this weekend, and will offer facials, waxing, and body scrubs, Frank said. Massages are coming in May.

Frank says she had no plans to expand to Old Town when she opened in Newport News. She’s been a stylist since 2009, when she worked at the former Circe Salon and Spa.

“I wasn’t intending on expanding really, ever,” she said. “I just saw that there was an opportunity for me to either stop working in Alexandria and let go of my clients, or to take a great opportunity with a salon that I had formerly worked for the last several years. So, I talked to the landlord and one thing led to another and now here I am.”

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Monte Durham outside his new salon in Old Town (staff photo by James Cullum)

Monte Durham says he’s ready to go back to television, but it could mean an end to his days cutting hair.

It’s been more than two years since Durham opened Salon Monte (210 S. Union Street), and during that time he’s worked to jumpstart a new show. Earlier plans to film a reality show in the salon didn’t pan out, he says, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing more opportunities.

“I’ve been approached by a production company out of the U.K.,” Durham said. “From the conversations I’ve been having, I would go back to wedding consulting.”

The former co-host of “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” Durham was filming “Say Yes to the Prom” in New York City when the pandemic struck in March 2020. With an expired contract and the network having gone temporarily dark, he went back to his roots as a hair stylist and opened the salon in September 2020. It’s been a serious commitment of time, energy and resources. After all, with his business named Salon Monte, everyone wants him to cut their hair.

“I call them one-hit wonders,” Durham says. “Folks will buy their wife or relative the gift of having me cut their hair, and we have five fabulous stylists, so if they want to save 30% with another stylist, I encourage them to do that.”

Durham, 65, lives with his husband in Belle Haven, and says he’s in the salon nearly every day.

“It’s different [from] traveling and staying in nice hotels, hanging out and meeting great people on red carpets,” he said. “The salon has been very good for me.”

He says both his parents died in quick succession — with his father dying less than two weeks before the salon opened.

“It kept me driven and kept me from wallowing in my sorrows,” Durham said. “We started out new. Everything was new:  the towels, the faucets, the flooring, the ceiling, the lighting. In that chaos of the world shutting down around us, here we were with this little gem in the heart of Old Town.”

If it works out and Durham does get back on TV, he says that the salon will stay open.

“Our biggest accomplishment has been consistency,” Durham said. “I have set some things in motion, and I feel confident that we can do it. I have great bookkeeping support, ordering support and excellent staff.”

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Ready to expand your horizons with a brick and mortar?

The latest listings on BizBuySell show all kinds of companies for sale in Alexandria.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings, and the names and locations are generally left out.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed:

  1. Full service restaurant and bar — “This restaurant is in a prime location on a main road surrounded by residential, retail and office buildings with high walking traffic. Highly sought after area in Alexandria. This large restaurant seats 250 people inside with outdoor seating as well. High end furniture & fixtures along with a full service bar surrounded by TVs. Large kitchen with top of the line equipment ready for any menu. This restaurant can be converted to fit most menus & concepts. Great opportunity for anyone looking to expand a current restaurant to the next level.”
  2. Dog Boutique Accessories and Food — “Incredible dog boutique store in charming and wealthy Old Town Alexandria. The business has been growing since inception in 2010.The high visibility location draws in hundreds of customers each week. This business does NOT sell or re-home dogs.”
  3. Nail salon — “Established, nice nail salon/spa with good income available for sale in the Falls Church, Alexandria area. Good rent. Potential for growth if adding more nail techs. Nail services comprise 80% of the business, the rest is hair services. Highly visible from main road. Good reviews. Nice and well decorated. Owner can stay and work on a part time basis. Staff will stay if new owner want. 1,700 square feet. Current lay out has 6 pedicure chairs, 8 manicure tables, 2 hair stations, 2 shampoo stations, 2 rooms for facial/waxing services. Owner prefers cash but can provide short term financing with substantial down payment. Priced to sell. Don’t miss this opportunity.”
  4. Former hair salon in Fairlington — “Formerly a hair salon by the name of Primary Colors, a hair salon that was in business for twenty years. Now the space is open, and is still built out to be a hair salon, but the space can also be altered to become a different business.”
  5. Deli with R.E. property — The owner is retiring after 30 years in business. The restaurant is open five days a week for breakfast and lunch.
  6. Well-established laundromat — “All Washer and Driers in Excellent condition. NO Coin! Card only! Owner stops by the store once a week. 50 washers, 52 Driers.”
  7. Profitable restaurant for sale — “Great location, great visibility, long lease term, plenty of parking spaces, in a busy shopping center with many other businesses that crowded with customers on the daily basic, this restaurant is built up from the cold cell condition with new kitchen equipment, freezer, cooler, HVAC….., that’s clean and presenting a long useful life for new owner to do business in years to come without any major upgrading. This restaurant can be converting to other cuisine given there is no other restaurant of that cuisine is currently operated within the shopping center.”
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Ready to go into business in Alexandria?

The latest listings on BizBuySell show all kinds of companies for sale in the city.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings, and the names and locations are generally left out.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed:

  1. Dog Boutique Accessories and Food — “Incredible dog boutique store in charming and wealthy Old Town Alexandria. The business has been growing since inception in 2010.The high visibility location draws in hundreds of customers each week. This business does NOT sell or re-home dogs.”
  2. Nail salon — “Established, nice nail salon/spa with good income available for sale in the Falls Church, Alexandria area. Good rent. Potential for growth if adding more nail techs. Nail services comprise 80% of the business, the rest is hair services. Highly visible from main road. Good reviews. Nice and well decorated. Owner can stay and work on a part time basis. Staff will stay if new owner want. 1,700 square feet. Current lay out has 6 pedicure chairs, 8 manicure tables, 2 hair stations, 2 shampoo stations, 2 rooms for facial/waxing services. Owner prefers cash but can provide short term financing with substantial down payment. Priced to sell. Don’t miss this opportunity.”
  3. Former hair salon in Fairlington — “Formerly a hair salon by the name of Primary Colors, a hair salon that was in business for twenty years. Now the space is open, and is still built out to be a hair salon, but the space can also be altered to become a different business.”
  4. Deli with R.E. property — The owner is retiring after 30 years in business. The restaurant is open five days a week for breakfast and lunch.
  5. Well-established laundromat — “All Washer and Driers in Excellent condition. NO Coin! Card only! Owner stops by the store once a week. 50 washers, 52 Driers.”
  6. Profitable restaurant for sale — “Great location, great visibility, long lease term, plenty of parking spaces, in a busy shopping center with many other businesses that crowded with customers on the daily basic, this restaurant is built up from the cold cell condition with new kitchen equipment, freezer, cooler, HVAC….., that’s clean and presenting a long useful life for new owner to do business in years to come without any major upgrading. This restaurant can be converting to other cuisine given there is no other restaurant of that cuisine is currently operated within the shopping center.”
  7. Profitable High Volume Bakery & Cafe MRB VA 1107 — “By purchasing this Bakery, Café, and Catering Company that is for sale in a very busy shopping center in Fairfax County, Virginia and you will be ready for business your first day! This well-known operation produces $1.8 million from its multiple foodservice revenue streams. It is Fully Equipped and gives you the opportunity to serve up a full restaurant menu, special occasion cakes, sweet treat pastries, and baked goods, including gluten-free items, sugar-free treats, and food for allergy-sensitive patrons.”
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