Terry McKee wants to be part of the energy surrounding the Mall at University Town Center.
He co-owns Sarasota's Nuovo Salon Group, with business partner James Amato. The salon is part of the Aveda salon family. Fortunately for him, Aveda is opening a retail store inside the Mall at UTC this fall, making a perfect fit for Nuovo to open at the Shoppes at University Town Center this December at 8231 Cooper Creek Blvd. This will be the company's first Manatee County salon.
"We've been looking and watching the University Park/Lakewood Ranch area," McKee said. "We have a lot of guests that come from that area to our salon downtown and even at The Landings."
The salon owners talked to the owner of Edin Salon & Spa, who wanted to get out of her lease, and decided the space was perfect, so they signed a deal and are renovating the salon, McKee said.
The space was the third one Nuovo looked at after deciding against going into the mall because the rent was too high and another space near the shopping center was leased by someone else before they could sign.
"This is a really hot market," McKee said.
The Aveda store will help complement the Nuovo salon because the sales people at the mall can refer clients to the salon across the road and some Nuovo salon workers will be guest
artists at a blow dry bar and experience area at Aveda, McKee said.
"You might be going to the mall and purchase products and browse around the experience bar and a person might say do you have a salon in the area and they might recommend us," he said. "It's a very symbiotic relationship."
Proceeds of retail sales at the Nuovo salons go toward credits for advancing a stylists' advanced education with Aveda, McKee said. Aveda maintains a school in Clearwater as well as in four other cities in Florida where stylists receive training.
Another salon is opening in the center, too, Salon Lofts, and McKee isn't afraid of the competition. The two salons are very different where Salon Lofts stylists are more like independent contractors where stylists rent booths.
"We're about team," McKee said. "We show our team members how they build their business and how they sharpen their skill set and artistry."
The five-year lease with Benderson Development Co., covers the 2,750-square-space unit and includes renewal options.
Nuovo maintains three locations in Sarasota -- Whole Food Center, The Landings and Westfield Southgate Mall. All locations will remain open, but Nuovo will meet with mall management to learn about redevelopment plans to decide if they want to continue there, McKee said.
"We're looking forward to making relationships in Bradenton because that is a drive for people," McKee said. "Bradenton is a misunderstood city. People don't understand how cosmopolitan Bradenton is."
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.