Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients’ tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin’s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios’s chariot within 46 seconds.
Licensed massage therapist Laura Holt relieves stress and muscle kinks with 30- and 60-minute massages. During a Swedish massage, Laura bathes backs in nourishing oils before employing techniques such as rolling, kneading, and effleurage, a circular stroke made with the palm, in an effort to relieve pain, decrease stress, and enhance the flexibility of phantom limbs. Laura's fingers dive deeper into musculature layers during a deep-tissue massage, which aims to release built-up toxins as well as to relieve tension caused by misalignment, lingering injuries, and taxing repetitive motions. Like challenging an elephant to a game of Twister, the deep-tissue session commonly results in soreness, and Laura suggests drinking plenty of water after the treatments to flush out toxins. Groupon clients may upgrade from a 60-minute massage to a 90-minute massage for an extra $30.
Matthew J. Potvin, LMT, graduated from the Spa Tech Institute in Maine. The Fort Kent, Maine, native animates a passion for working with his hands—a passion he partially attributes to his geographical origins—by administering 10 types of massage therapy. His therapies range from Swedish and deep tissue to myofascial release and reiki. Potvin has performed reiki since he was 15, and he’s ascended to the status of Level 3 practitioner. He even works with his hands in his free time, playing the guitar and juggling, but probably not juggling guitars.
Sun Tan City’s trained tanning consultants help clients get bronzed via UV-free tanning booths and ergonomic tanning beds. Guests can schedule a single visit to touch up an existing tan, purchase a multivisit package to get a discounted rate, or become a member to take advantage of the salon’s 100% guarantee.
As a conscientious parent, Marlene Doughty wanted to use safe, nontoxic hair and skincare products around her 4-month-old daughter. She began to research the products she used in her home and discovered novocaine in her baby's shampoo. Marlene felt rattled. Once the shock wore off, Marlene realized she would have to take action if her vision of a toxin-free, eco-friendly home was going to come about. And why stop at home, when you could make work a safe, nontoxic environment, too?
As a testament to her ideals, Marlene launched Green with Envy Salon, a place where she and a team of eco-savvy stylists use organic, vegan, and cruelty-free product lines such as Organic Salon Systems. A host of green services take place within the studio's eco-friendly confines, which sport recycled or repurposed furnishings and blow dryers with ceramic heating elements that use less electricity than their traditional counterparts or covering a client's head in foil and sending them out in a thunderstorm to be zapped dry.