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Home nail salon expands to full service spa in Farmington

Entrepreneur Laura Hanks will soon expand her home-based Main Street Nails into Main Street Day Spa after the city updated its home occupation ordinance that now allows her to broaden her small business to give customers skin care, massage, waxing and hair care services. Kara Hildreth / contributor

Budding entrepreneur Laura Hanks is persistent and determined to make sure her career dream becomes reality.

The persistence paid off. Back in May Hanks was told at Farmington City Hall it would be doubtful she would be able to open a day spa in her home due to the nature of the city ordinance.

She got busy and gathered 185 signatures in support of expanding her home-based business Main Street Nails into a full-service salon called Main Street Spa.

"I still wanted to live here and do business," Hanks said.

After bringing the issue to the Farmington Economic Development Authority and having the ordinance reviewed by the Farmington Planning Commission, the updated ordinance was recently approved by the Farmington City Council.

The city updated its existing home occupation ordinance, made changes from a previous conditional use permit and amended the ordinance to an interim use permit for home businesses, according to Tony Wippler, city planning manager.

The new ordinance will allow Hanks to soon open a day spa and may help other budding entrepreneurs in Farmington.

"I will have my home occupation permit for two years until I am ready to go to the next level, and it will help me until I can afford a commercial space," Hanks said.

In a year Hanks can re-apply up to three years if everything is going well at her home-based salon spa. The interim use permit for small businesses is not tied to land and is good for a certain amount of time.

"We made some additional provisions and performance standards are put in place that were not in the previous ordinance that will give us more clarity for what uses could be and what is needed to operate," Wippler said.

The new ordinance allows for up to four employees and it allows a new entrepreneur to start a business out of a home. It gives the business owner a little more flexibility to grow a business and transition out of the home into a full-time commercial space.

"We have been working on this for the better part of a year," he said.

Adam Kienberger, city community development director, said the updated city ordinance allows home-based businesses to grow. It buys time so the business owner can work to expand the customer base before needing to invest in a larger commercial space.

"I am hoping within the next two or three years if this goes well, I can pick up and move out and I really like the downtown area," Hanks said, who is eyeing one historic building in downtown Farmington. "We have a little downtown area and most people want to see it grow, and we are not Apple Valley or Lakeville and I know I want to stay working in downtown Farmington."

As a native born at the old Farmington hospital, Hanks, 37, is proud to have grown up in the small town that today is growing, but it is still very much a bedroom community. Hanks wants to support her hometown because she has been given support in her own business by friends and locals for seven years.

Hanks believes the new day spa will allow her to better balance home and work while meeting her clients' needs and attending to her children as a stay-at-home, working mother of three.

"For one, being at one with my kids would be so nice and I want to have the flexibility to be there for my kids where I can go to the school events," she said. "It is really the best of both worlds because I get to be home with them yet work at my business at the same time."

Hanks believes there is a demand for a full-service day spa in Farmington.

"We don't have an all in one place spa in Farmington, and I have a lot of clients already who would love to have one place to go," she said.

Networking alongside small business owners from Farmington, Hanks plans to host ladies shopping events in November and December at her salon located on Main Street. The ladies events will offer clients passports to visit other downtown businesses. At Main Street Nails, she will sell winter scarves, mittens, jewelry, handmade signs, baby clothes, and homemade home goods for each room of the home.

"The main thing is I will be working to getting my spa up and running and I am working on my board of cosmetology license," Hanks said. Soon she will hire a licensed massage therapist.

Grateful to loyal customers, she said "I really think my clients love coming here rather than the busy salons because we have a homey feel."