In every small town across America, there’s at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Traverse City, MI (population 15,018) has Imprés Salon Spa.
Named after the Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City, MI is home to picturesque lakes and hills carved from ancient glaciers. The natural landscape provided a haven for farmers, fishermen and lumberjacks to settle; in the 19th century, lumberjacks began using leftover materials from sawmills to build their homes in areas south and west of Grand Traverse Bay. This neighborhood, known as Slabtown, is now home to Imprés Salon Spa.
The full-service salon features blonde hardwood floors, a chandelier, and leather chairs in the waiting area and loft-height ceilings in the styling room. Imprés Salon Spa’s top services are haircuts, waxing and magazine award-winning pedicures, for which owner Sandra Dunn credits the high-caliber pampering. “We try to make it not just about polishing the nails,” Dunn says. “It’s also about caring for the legs and feet.” Other services receive the same luxurious extras, such as haircuts, which are paired with a head massage. “It’s the little things that mean so much to people,” Dunn says. “It’s about what we can do for [clients].” The staff at Imprés Salon Spa relies on three core values: quality, a focus on the guest and team strength. This mentality extends to small details, too, like the beverages offered—the salon serves fair-trade coffee and locally harvested tea, Dunn says.
Imprés Salon Spa has grown significantly since its beginning in 1990, when Dunn founded the business with her sister Tamara Vomastek. What started as a staff of three in a 700-square-foot space has expanded to a team of 28 in a 3,800-square-foot establishment. Dunn says she is currently in the process of expanding part of the salon, which previously housed a doctor’s office. This shared space is an area with a separate entrance where top stylists can act as entrepreneurs. “Top performers have a choice about whether to go to the private business space or stay with the main salon, which creates another career path,” Dunn explains.
The salon’s success, Dunn says, lies in cultivating great relationships with everyone from the clients and the staff to the company accountant and advisor. ✂ —Corie Hengst
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PHOTOGRAPHY: Mark Courville