2017-07-06 / News

Nail salon joins downtown district

BY RYAN GIBBS


Salon manager Charlotte Ma performs a pedicure Monday afternoon at Miss Lacquer Nails. The salon, located in the former dive shop at 23 Narragansett Ave., opened in the middle of May. 
PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Salon manager Charlotte Ma performs a pedicure Monday afternoon at Miss Lacquer Nails. The salon, located in the former dive shop at 23 Narragansett Ave., opened in the middle of May. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Women in town with a penchant for manicures now have the service at their fingertips.

Miss Lacquer Nails opened its doors two weeks after Freddy’s House of Pizza was sold in the adjacent commercial unit. The building at 23 Narragansett Ave. in the heart of the village has been a revolving door throughout the years, from antiques to scuba equipment to pet groomers.

Owner Christopher Arnold said he initially considered opening in the Bomes Theatre, but then spotted the vacant space across the street. It had been empty for almost a year following the departure of Dive On It Scuba Supply. Arnold said the landlord was helpful in getting the store up and running.

“She was eager to rent it,” he said.

Arnold operates the salon with store manager Charlotte Ma, a friend from their hometown of Philadelphia. Although Arnold is a native Pennsylvanian, he lived in Rhode Island from 2005-11 while studying at Johnson & Wales in Providence.

The impetus for the nail salon stemmed from a drive through town. Arnold, whose background is in restaurants, was cruising Narragansett Avenue when he noticed a village absent of chain stores. Upon closer examination, he noticed another glaring omission — there wasn’t a dedicated nail salon. That’s when he contacted Ma, an experienced nail technician who had worked in Cranston.

“What better opportunity … to open a small business,” he said. “It’s great that Jamestown doesn’t want any chains here. It’s very supportive of local businesses.”

Although Miss Lacquer Nails is the town’s first dedicated shop for manicures and pedicures, it is not the only business to offer those services. Cathryn Jamieson Salon across the street, Salon Balayage on North Road and Ocean Essence Spa near the post office all work on hands and feet. Arnold, however, said his place is unique because of his eco-friendly products.

“We use the most toxic-free polishes we can find, so we focus on the healthy aspect,” Arnold said. “We don’t do any acrylics, fake nails or nail extensions.”

In addition to being the salon’s manager, Ma is a nail technician and consultant, offering advice to customers regardless of the cost. For example, a customer last week wanted a gel manicure, which is more expensive than a regular treatment. Ma, however, dissuaded the woman from the procedure because of the condition of her nails, which were dehydrated.

“Charlotte worked with her on what was health conscious for the customer instead of just going for the upsell,” Arnold said.

The salon employs another employee, parttime nail technician Brittany Rousseau. The Providence native said she enjoys the change of pace from working in nail salons in the capital.

“The people are really friendly here,” Rousseau said. “It’s nice to get out of the big city and come where it’s more small town. I’ve been getting to know people.”

Arnold and Ma signed the lease in February and began renovations that month before opening in mid-May.

According to Arnold, business has been good with a clientele that is largely Jamestown.

“I heard a lot of people say that they needed a nail salon on the island,” he said. “That way, they don’t have cross either of the bridges to get their nails done anymore. We’re trying to bring them one less thing they have to go off island for.”

Racquet Road resident Mia Fitzgerald, who received a pedicure from Rousseau, loves the location.

“I didn’t have to drive anywhere,” she said. “I don’t like to go to the nail salons that often. It’s kind of a treat, but it was an overcast day and I had time. My technician was very nice and very good.”

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