Tanic Tan, opened last fall, meets the growing demand in Sikeston area
SIKESTON -- Although the weather may be chilly with little sunshine these days, Tiffany O'Neal is working to help people in the Sikeston area enjoy a bronze tan.
After doing seasonal work in local tanning salons for about six years, she decided to make a living out of her passion, and opened Tanic Tan in mid-
"It's just something I really loved to do -- I liked the people and the atmosphere and I just thought 'why not?,'" said O'Neal. "I figured the town could use another one or two salons."
And the steady business she's experienced has shown she was right. "Business has been great," she said. "It has been better than I had expected."
There are five Soltron tanning beds at Tanic Tan -- four of the traditional, 20 minute maximum beds where a customer lies down, and one VHR, 12-minute maximum bed in which individuals stand to tan.
"All of the beds have bronzing bulbs," pointed out O'Neal.
That means that, while although person can still burn from the rays, a tanner gets some color every time they tan.
O'Neal tries to keep people from burning while they tan, however. She had experience and certification to train her on how long a person should tan, based on their skin type.
When she decided to go into business for herself, O'Neal completed a course through the American Tanning Institute to become a certified tanning specialist. The course didn't just instruct her on how to work the beds and teach other operational techniques, but also about the layers of the skin and how they can become damaged, said O'Neal.
And for those who still can't tan -- or don't feel comfortable doing so in the beds -- O'Neal plans to expand the shop later this year and add Mystic Tan. The spray-on tan is not currently offered at any other location in Sikeston.
Tanning lotions and bronzers are also available for purchase.
"We try to carry a variety," said O'Neal. "But if there's something people want and we don't have it, we can get it in about two days."
Patrons can choose from several tanning packages or pay per session, O'Neal noted. She runs occasional specials, and also offers a free trial in the beds.
To thank her customers during the Christmas holidays, O'Neal did a raffle for them to win packages. She plans to have random raffles throughout the year, "just to say thank you."
Mid-January and February kicks off the peak tanning season, where patrons are getting ready for events such as prom, vacations and spring break. Although walk-in sessions are available, she advised people make appointments. Lunch time and after-school hours are other peak times of the day.
O'Neal said she never thought she would be a business owner, although opening her own shop is something she's wanted to do for the past few years. She had even discussed the idea with her family.
"But I never thought I would get that opportunity and the money to start from scratch," O'Neal said.
But her grandfather, also a small business owner, decided to help her out. Last summer, they bought the building on Kingshighway and gutted and remodeled it.
And it is a sort of family affair. She is the only person on staff, but O'Neal's mother often helps out at the salon during busy times of the day.
O'Neal said she loves the new experience. "I can't see myself doing anything else right now, or even in the future," she said.
Tanic Tan is located at 334 S. Kingshighway. Winter business hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Appointments are encouraged, they can be made by calling 471-0212.