New nail salon aims to bring diversity to downtown Iowa City


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After more than four years, nearly 5 feet of floodwater, and a two mile move, Dalena Tran’s V’s Nail Studio is once again back in business — this time aiming to draw a more diverse clientele base to a centralized space.

Her original location, 81 Second St., Coralville, succumbed to the 2008 floodwaters. It had been in operation at that location since 2001.

Come March 1 — after four years of hosting clients in the comforts of her home — the Iowa City resident will reopen in the former downtown Iowa City location of Milio’s Sandwiches, 20 S. Clinton St. Tran was told she could not reopen in her original location, so she began looking into several area retail pockets of including Coralville, North Liberty, and near the Iowa City Walmart Supercenter.

After finding limited space available, she was notified by a client of eight years that the Clinton Street space was for rent and that the client herself was the landlord.

“I feel like in the downtown, there isn’t really a true nail salon outside of the [Old Capitol] mall,” she said. “I hope that I can have more of the student population, a younger clientele.”

The roughly 1,100-square-foot spa will feature five manicure tables, eight pedicure chairs and a variety of waxing services. Prices will run from $20 to $50.

Tran’s goal of making clients feel good about themselves and not focusing on monetary gains has translated into a loyal customer base. The majority of her clients have been going to her for pampering anywhere between five and 10 years.

City Councilor Connie Champion attributed the anticipated success of the V’s Nail Studio to two factors: a more affordable service and a shortage of competitors nearby.

“Nail salons used to be only for people that could afford to spend $100 on a manicure or pedicure,” she said. “Everybody’s doing it now, and it’s much less expensive. I think it will be very successful.”
The Old Capitol Town Center houses Modern Nails, and La James, 227 E. Market St., also offers nail services.

Approximately 50 feet north of V’s stands Molly’s Cupcakes, 14 S. Clinton St., which opened just over a year ago. Owner Jamie Smith said she welcomes the additional retail and related the new nail venture to the recently opened Clinton Street Social Club, 18½ Clinton St., that she says is bringing a new wave of businesses to the street.

“I don’t think any new space [downtown] has to be converted to a restaurant or bar; frankly, I’m excited,” she said. “You still have places on that street for college kids to hang out, but you also have places for the older crowd to go. It’s a good mix.”

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