A new twist on hair salons is ready to roll into south Rochester.
Austin and Kari Lucas are setting up a Sola Salon Studios franchise in 5,200 square feet of space in Shoppes on Maine. Sola Salon is taking most of the strip of empty spots along the north side of the complex that houses MGM Liquors and the former Best Buy store.
The concept is more like a mall than a traditional beauty salon. It will
be a collection of 26 private studios that will be available for lease
by licensed stylists and professionals in related fields. Three sizes of
models will be available.
"We're not in the salon business," explained Austin Lucas. "We're in the business of putting people into business."
Each studio is its own independent operation with its own name, retail products, prices and hours.
"They keep all of the money. They can start their own salon without any
of the usual headaches of starting a business," he said. "This is
several steps further than stylists renting a chair, like you see in
If everything goes as planned, construction should begin soon. The hope
is to have the studios ready for tenants by early to mid-summer.
Besides a space, Sola Salon provides the hydraulic chairs, sinks and whatever other basic equipment that is needed.
Access to the studios is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That allows the tenants to be open when they want to work.
Three Sola Salon Studios are open in the Twin Cities, and two others are
under construction. This will be the first one outside of the metro
So a sharp-eyed reader recently spotted a crew quickly putting up a
security fence around the forlorn and often forgotten parking lot
without a development, Willow Creek Market at south 48th Street, across U.S. 63 from Shoppes on Maine.
After about six or seven years without any activity, a new fence definitely caught my attention.
When checking it out, i.e. snooping, I spotted some new cars parked in a
corner of the lot. When I realized that all of the vehicles were made
by Mercedes, the light bulb finally clicked on over my head and this
thought bubble soon joined it.
"Hhhmmm... the new Mercedes of Rochester dealership
that is getting close to opening across the highway still has its lot
full of construction machines. But they would need to be bringing in
inventory to prepare for the opening…"
It seems a safe bet that Mercedes is staging its cars on the lonesome orphan lot, while construction wraps up.
Temporary or not, the activity seems positive for the site. Rochester's Hamilton Real Estate is the listing the property these days.
While downtown and the northwest quadrant of the city have been seeing
a lot of action in recent months, one shouldn't forget southwest
The sprawling Shoppes on Maine commercial development on Rochester's South Broadway may not be exploding with growth, but it seems to be bubbling along.
It was car dealership Rochester Toyota that first put what was an empty field on the map in 2006. And now another dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Rochester,
is gearing up to hit the gas again for the area that I once labeled as
"Rochester 2.0." Yeah, I know… Sometimes I'm a little over dramatic.
Anyway, look for the lights to go on inside the shiny glass walls, and the doors of the dealership to open in late March.
That should bring in more traffic to that area and, in turn, attract the interest of more businesses.
Look for Cherry Berry frozen yogurt to sweeten the deal as a new franchise should start serving in the strip center in front of Lowe's. It will be next to Portrait Innovations,
which is a photo studio that is going strong since opening in 2008. I
recently messed up and misreported that it wasn't open. It is very open
and seems pretty busy, too. I'm sorry about that.
Miracle Ear is also very active in the Minnesota Lakes Dental building. It recently moved out of the Sears store in Apache Mall to join the Shoppes on Maine mix.
Of course, there have been some places, such as the more than 30,000-square-foot Best Buy store and the nearby Mattress Firm store, that have emptied recently.
However, one of my sharp-eyed spies let me know last week that the "For
Lease" sign has been taken off of the ex-Best Buy, and lights were on
Does that mean a deal is starting to surge to plug in a new business there? I'm not sure, but I'll keep an eye on it.