By Mimi Wood, Senior Staff Writer for Island Eye News
Finally, a day warm enough for sandals. Except…my feet. Sandals are definitely not an option. Far worse than “beach toes,” (my euphemism for a scuffed pedi during the warm months) these neglected winter dogs are flat-out gnarly. I need a pedicure, quick, before I suffer another balmy day in closed-toe shoes. And right around the corner, on-island, is my answer, Salon & Co. Although it’s been there for nearly 25 years, I always blew past Salon & Co., next to the Delta Pharmacy, across from Harris Teeter. “I always assumed it would be more expensive than Mt. Pleasant, being on the island,” local Joan Fallon spoke my thoughts exactly, as we bumped into each other in our search for a foot-fix. Not only did Tracy Hoang, the new owner, set us straight; we both left delighted that we no longer have to trudge across the connector to treat our tootsies to a great pedi, for less than what we pay “off.” “Tracy’s looking out for the locals” states Vicki Friedrichs, who opened Salon & Co. exclusively for hair in 1994. “I’m offering 20 percent off to locals year-round,” elaborates Hoang; busy getting to know island regulars now, before the season starts. Hoang moved to California with her parents in the early 90s from South Vietnam, in search of a better life. Eleven years old, “I couldn’t even say ‘hi’ in English. We moved in June, and I started school in September. It was pretty hard. There were no Vietnamese, and although the kids were nice, I was extremely shy and quiet.” Not to mention scared. “I just kept listening. It took a while,” but she finally found her place. Even more so decades later when she met her future husband, Andrew, a Clemson grad, who was visiting his cousin in California. “I was a friend of Andrew’s cousin.
He introduced us,” smiles Hoang. It wasn’t long before she found herself moving to Daniel Island, where Andrew works as a computer engineer. And now, married for almost three years, they are blessed with baby Emma, eight-months old. Having worked salons, Hoang “always had ‘my own place’ in the back of my head.” And despite the fact that Salon & Co. had been on the market for nearly a year, the Hoang’s purchase this past December happened kind of unexpectedly, and quickly. Hoang has her work cut out for her; harder than starting new, she’s busy touching up the salon’s reputation. While she is far too congenial to disparage the former owners, she demurely offers there was, “maybe a communication problem? They were perhaps…misguided?” And while the former reputation may be less than pristine, the salon’s equipment and hygiene is stellar. Mani or pedi, every implement is immediately autoclaved after each use, just like the dentist. A fresh bowl liner with every pedicure is de rigueur. Fredrich’s, who sold the business two years ago, remains on site with one other hair stylist, the salon having transitioned primarily to nail care. “Tracy is the third owner in two years. She’s the charm,” declares Friedrichs, who is fully confident of Hoang’s ability to restore “her” salon to its former glory. “The locals have been awesome,” enthuses Hoang “I know I’m in the right place.”
Salon & Co is located at 1400 Palm Blvd, Suite F, in the Ocean Plaza Shopping Center. Phone 843.886.3800 for an appointment. Walk-ins for nails and hair are welcomed.