MANATEE -- As the economy is on the upswing, two new salons are taking root in Bradenton and a third is taking advantage of growth downtown.
The Hair Company opened April 14 and Bloomosity plans to open May 11. Yadi's Beauty Salon moved to a lively downtown scene and different clientele.
Bill Ackles, business tax clerk for Bradenton, said having this much movement at once is "kind of unusual."
The salons signify the economic growth Bradenton has seen for the past couple of years, according to Manatee Chamber of Commerce President Bob Bartz.
"Even before the recession Manatee County was one of the fastest growing counties in Florida," Bartz said. "As a result of population growth, naturally that's when your businesses pop up."
Though some businesses took a dive during the recession, Bartz said Manatee County and Bradenton recovered quickly.
The increasing population includes entrepreneurs moving in to open businesses. The demographics and income level of the Bradenton area in addition to higher consumer confidence and a trend of increasing retail sales make it a suitable place to start a venture.
The businesses reflect county and statewide trends, according to Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation cosmetology records. Seventeen salons were licensed to operate in Manatee County this year as of April 30, already more than the 16 that were licensed in all of 2011. Fifty-three salons were licensed last year.
So far this year, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation will only need to license 177 more hair salons to match the 1,449 salons licensed in 2010.
Yadi's Beauty Salon relocated to 1312 Sixth Ave. W. in December after being open eight years. Even though it's a slightly smaller space, owner Yadira Diaz said the location makes it worth it.
"It's a different environment and different clientele," Diaz said. "And I like the way they redid this whole plaza."
Diaz provides hair services for men and women, from quick trims to coloring and perms. She also does makeup, nails and will help women style up-dos for special events.
Her former location, 510 10th St. W., is up for sale, but Diaz expects it will be a hair salon when new owners take over.
A new Bradenton company
The Hair Company in the Beachway Plaza, 7304 Manatee Ave. W., filled a space that had been vacant four years, according to owner Margarette Loukas.
Loukas, who has 39 years of experience, is the mother half of a mother-daughter team opening the 1,400 square-foot salon after owning and operating a salon for 10 years in the central Florida town of Minneola.
She and her daughter, Jennifer Mitchell, "are just driven people," Loukas said. "We wanted to create the atmosphere and give guests what they want in this area." Initial investment in The Hair Company was $50,000.
The Hair Company franchise offers Paul Mitchell products and expanded services. A room in the back of the salon allows them to offer exclusive hair treatments and provide guests with a complimentary scalp, neck, arm and hand massage.
The Hair Company's color bar gives space to a color specialist to mix custom "color cocktails."
Being a Paul Mitchell salon includes more than carrying Paul Mitchell products, Loukas said. She and her daughter operated their previous salon as a Paul Mitchell salon and mentors from the 35-year-old company helped them with the real estate search in Bradenton.
"We get products first and we can be about one thing rather than many things," said Mitchell who has 16-years of experience.
Loukas, who is working as the Hair Company's director, hopes to have six stylists, and is willing to provide training and education to stylists with little or no experience.
The education aspect extends to customers, as well.
"It's been very informative and relaxing," said Sue Sams, a part-time Bradenton resident and first-time visitor to The Hair Company. "I think I found a gem here."
Bloomisity LLC is set to open Bloomosity at 4949 State Road 64 E., a hair salon and "beauty bar" owned and operated by Renee Walker and her fiancé Alan Darrow.
The name of the salon comes from Walker's philosophy about beauty.
"We're not making women beautiful; we are bringing out their beauty," Walker said. "Like a flower that blooms."
The couple said the area's demographics, development and other attractive characteristics brought them to Bradenton from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
"Bradenton is an authentic Florida city to me," Walker said. "We love Bradenton, and there is a clientele here" for the big-city salon experience Walker hopes to bring. Darrow added nearly 1,000 residential units are being built close the salon's location and "they've got to get their hair done somewhere."
Walker hopes to provide an elevated level of customer experience that she thinks is missing from Bradenton's current selection of beauty salons.
"I've never been to a salon where they ask if you want a shampoo and blow dry," Walker said.
The couple also feel there's a niche not being filled by the franchise hair salons currently open in Bradenton.
"There seems to be a lot of in-and-out hair cut establishments," Walker said. "There's nothing wrong with that, but that's not what we're looking to bring to Bradenton."
Bloomosity will carry eco-friendly products, including those that are vegan-friendly, paraben-free and sulfate-free.
The owner of Salon 64, the current tenant in Bloomosity's space, was contemplating selling near the end of last year, and Walker was in for a hair cut when she heard stylists talking about the possible sale. She said Darrow was getting bored and looking for something to do, so Walker began to think about how she could renovate the 1,200 square-foot space.
Renovations begin May 1, giving the couple less than two weeks to put in new flooring, fresh paint and expanded retail space. They officially closed on the salon on April 28, and Walker said they've been "running a marathon since." So far, Darrow said the investment is close to $100,000.
Walker said she hopes to hire a total of 12 stylists and is starting off with five, three of whom worked for Salon 64. They're accepting applications and emphasize they can provide training.
Tara Kane said she was thinking about heading back to her home state of Michigan until she saw the vision Walker and Darrow have for the new business.
"I really think this place will take off," Kane said. "Renee and Alan have a lot of great ideas.
Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter@jayohday.