Teresa Housman was looking for diversification.
She had been operating Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders in Morris for nine years. While she enjoyed the restaurant business, she wanted more. She still successfully runs the food establishment, but she wanted to mix things up a bit.
So, six years ago she decided to open a tanning salon. Today, Premier Tan in Minooka is the largest tanning salon in Grundy County.
“We are not a gym offering tanning on site. We are not a hair salon with just one bed,” Housman said. “We are solely a tanning salon. Tanning is our business.”
Premier Tan has nine tanning beds. The time limit for the tanning beds varies between 10 to 20 minute sessions. Housman said she takes a health history of each client and will assist them in making the right decision on which bed, the time limit to tan and how many sessions it will take to achieve the tan the client wants.
“We have different packages to purchase to make the tanning experience cost effective,” Housman said.
Housman emphasized that the beds are stimulating what takes place outside. The filters on the tanning beds provide protection similar to what the ozone layer does outside in the elements, Housman said.
“When people are outside in the sun, many say they will be out for a short time. They get distracted and the results are a sunburn,” Housman said. “At the salon we have time limits.”
Prior to entering the tanning bed, Housman recommends her clients apply tanning lotions to their skin. A variety of lotions in many scents are available for purchase at the salon.
For those who are not patient with the tanning process or for those who cannot use a tanning bed because they have a history of health issues or are pregnant, Housman said a spray tan will give immediate results.
The product used for spray tanning is a clear solution and is applied with an airbrush, Housman said. The solution works with the amino acids in the body to create a tan.
“The same color is applied to the clients, but it will be different for each person because of the chemical make-up in their body,” Housman said.
High school dances such as prom and homecoming are popular times at the tanning salon, Housman said. February, March and April are busy as well because people want a tan for vacation or get a jump start on their color for the summer, she said.
Surprisingly, the clientele is mixed.
“There are more men than you would think coming in to get tans,” Housman said.
Members can text A483 and put 36000 in the message to receive special discounts throughout the year, Housman said. The first text guarantees a free tan, she said. Other specials, including free lotions, are also promoted throughout the year.
From December 1 through June 1, Sunday tanning sessions are half price, Housman said. She added that Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are half price days from June 1 through December 1.