The university has laid the groundwork to open a salon and spa near campus to increase revenue.
“This will be a full-service salon,” said Anthony Williams, chief auxiliary services officer. “It will be one of the largest, if not the largest in our community.”
The new salon is slated to open around the end of April and will fill the space left vacated by the Abilene Educational Supply, across the street from campus near the ACU Police Department. Williams said although planning for the salon began almost a year ago, this is not the reason AES closed. He said it wasn’t producing the type of income projected.
“The expenses of the salon should cover the investment within three years,” Williams said, although he did not disclose how much it will cost to renovate the space to serve its new purpose.
The university hired the student run advertising and public relations, Morris & Mitchell, to create a marketing and strategy plan for the new business.
“There’s going to be eight stylists, four nail technicians, a masseuse and esthetician – person who gives waxes,” said Morris & Mitchell account director Katie Beth Ware.
“It’s going to have a very modern and very sleek feeling,” said Taylor Edwards, co-project manager. “We’re very intentional to choose an atmosphere that’s attractive to men and women.”
Ware and Edwards both described the project as one that would not necessarily have ACU ties – a sentiment further reinforced by Williams.
“It will not be marketed as Abilene Christian University’s salon, because it’s for the community,” he said.
“Being an alumnus of ACU, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Janelle Sands, a stylist already hired to begin work when the salon opens.
Sands plans to bring all of her clients over to the new facility, which means revenue from a group of about thirty diverse women will, in part, go to ACU.
Although everyone working for the salon, directly or indirectly in the planning stages, expressed enthusiasm about the opening, they each knew the new facility could face some resistance from others at the university.
“It’s really a tough area,” said Ware. “But in the midst of financial burdens, hopefully this will offset hardships the university is having.”
Williams described the salon as a proactive way to handle the situations faced last semester.
“On the surface, I could see why some may think that, but if we’re successful in this, we’re going to create an opportunity for some jobs to be maintained that otherwise may not be,” he said. “This endeavor and others are not done to exaggerate fiscal challenges, rather to address them.”