Thursday, January 24th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


Rejuvenating customers with modern, welcoming ambience

by Allison T. Williams

It all began innocently enough, over a routine color and cut.

Katy Lee, a hairstylist at Reflections Tanning and Hair Salon in Chesapeake, shared her concerns about the business’ future with client Joyce Elliott. Joyce recalls learning that the former owner wanted to sell the small business that had been a mainstay in the Deep Creek community for more than 20 years.

At 64, Joyce already had her hands full professionally. The licensed practical nurse owns the coastal Virginia affiliate of the home healthcare staffing agency, Arcadia Home Care, and she takes a hands-on role in marketing her company’s services to doctors, families and other caregivers. She also works with Virginia Beach attorney Scott Alprin, who specializes in elder law. She wasn’t really looking to take on more.

“It’s relaxing...
the place is always clean
and the people are nice.”

—Long-time client
Victor Butler of Deep Creek

But as a former hairdresser and previous owner of an airbrush tanning franchise in decades past, Joyce saw an opportunity. Two days later, unbeknownst to Katy, Joyce made an offer to buy Reflections Tanning and Hair Salon.

“I just found Katy last year,” she says, delighted with her stylish short blond hair. “A good hairstylist is hard to find and I didn’t want to lose her!”

Katy, who in December was Reflection’s only hairdresser, and fellow employee Brianna Lester, who runs the tanning side, believe Joyce’s intervention transformed the business.

Owner and operator, Joyce Elliott, LPN

Owner and operator, Joyce Elliott, LPN

“None of us knew what was going to happen,” Katy says. “Joyce came in and listened to me talk while I was doing her hair. Then, she just swooped in and lit up the place. Joyce was the right person at the right time.”

So far, most of the changes have been aesthetic. The salon, located in a strip shopping center off South Military Highway, recently got an interior facelift. It’s been painted a calming shade of light blue and the two hairstylists’ stations have been replaced.

A few other additions are in the works. A new hairstylist is scheduled to start this month and Joyce plans to hire a manicurist this spring. She’s looking forward to fully staffing the salon with employees that mesh well with the existing staff and clients.

Reflections is not your typical tanning salon, particularly these days with a growing number of tanning businesses with corporate ties opening in Hampton Roads. Besides being a one-stop shop for hair, facial waxing and tanning, Reflections is a place where clients oftentimes build long-lasting relationships with employees and one another.

“We don’t have that corporate feeling,” Katy says. “We are a small, intimate salon where our clients are more like family. There is a lot of camaraderie among the people who come here because we see one another so often.”

“That’s true,” Deep Creek resident Victor Butler says. He has tanned two or three times a week at Reflections for the past 10 years. Although he originally tried it because he was driving his daughters up there, Victor — a former surfer who was left disabled after a car accident years ago — finds tanning therapeutic.

Katy Lee, hairstylist, and Brianna Lester, tanning specialist

Katy Lee, hairstylist, and Brianna Lester, tanning specialist

“It’s relaxing and it helps get me out of the house,” Victor says. Although his tanning sessions only last 20 minutes, the affable 62-year-old laughs and says it’s not unusual for him to stick around for an hour chatting.

“The place is always clean and the people are nice,” Victor says. “As long as Reflections is here, we’ll continue going. I wish Joyce luck.”

“We are a small, intimate salon
 where our clients are more like family.”

—Katy Lee

Reflections has six tanning beds, including one stand-up tanning booth. The salon carries a variety of products to enhance the tanning process. It also offers several plans to fit people’s budget and tanning needs. Regular customers, like Victor and his daughter, purchase plans that allow unlimited visits for the year. But other customers may have different needs, such as getting a base tan before a tropical cruise or preparing for an upcoming wedding. In those cases, customers might prefer packages for a specific number of weeks or visits to meet their needs.

Joyce finds the business a good fit in her life at this stage. A career in nursing is very relatable to a tanning and beauty salon business. As a nurse who often deals with hospice patients, Joyce likes to remind caregivers of the importance of taking time to care for themselves. And sometimes, taking care of one’s self can be something as simple as taking time for a haircut, manicure or a tanning session.

 Joyce likes to remind caregivers
 of the importance
of taking time
to care for themselves.

A Norfolk native, Joyce has two adult children, Jordan Elliott and Jamie Shelton, who is married to Rob, and two grandchildren, Jillian and Jenieva Shelton, 10 and 3 respectively. The charming proprietor is looking forward to her new adventure.


3330 S. Military Hwy
Chesapeake, VA 23323