FARGO — Thanks to sisters Jodi Ellingson and Jill Krahn, the city of Fargo is now home to the largest self-contained salon and spa in the United States.
Only those connected to Las Vegas hotels are larger than the new Hair Success Salon and Spa at BLU Water Creek that opened Tuesday, Feb. 27, according to feedback Ellingson has received from beauty salon representatives.
Here are a few numbers to help illustrate the scope of the 22,000-square-foot salon and spa located at 3233 45th St. S.:
• 21 spa and massage rooms, including four adjoining rooms for couples' massages
• 10 pedicure stations featuring massage chairs
• 4 nail stations where clients can get acrylic nails applied and filled
• 8 seats at a nail bar where clients can receive manicures
• 10 shampoo stations where hair is washed and rinsed
• 29 private mini-booths where stylists employed by Hair Success cut, color and style hair
• 15 private suites for rent to independent stylists
The Hair Success app lists over 60 available services. In addition to the basic haircut and color, manicure and eyebrow wax, the business offers services such as microblading, permanent makeup, spray tanning, hair extensions, teeth whitening, vitamin B-12 injections, laser hair removal, Botox, hydra facials, Reiki, reflexology, flotation therapy, raindrop therapy and seaweed mud wraps, just to name a few.
Clients who purchase packages such as the HS Blu Water Signature Escape can enjoy a hot stone massage, hydra facial, spa pedicure, spa manicure and lunch in the Grotto.
The Grotto is a restaurant and bar located onsite. It features indoor seating as well as seating outside near a water feature in the summer months. The Grotto is a joint venture with owners of The Tavern, a full restaurant that will open next door this summer.
Hair Success employees can order drinks and food from the Grotto through an app on their phones, making it possible for clients to enjoy a margarita while getting a manicure or a martini while waiting for a massage.
Ellingson said the Grotto is large enough to host events such as trunk parties, weddings and other special events. It also has outdoor areas secluded enough to provide starlight couples massages at night.
To be clear, Hair Success Salon and Spa is not only for the ladies. Ellingson said the business was designed to offer services and accommodations for everyone. Locker rooms with saunas and steam showers are available for men, women and transgender clients.
The decor has something for everyone as well. Designing Women in Fargo furnished and decorated much of the new salon and spa.
Designers Kris Carlson and Linda Birmingham were there making finishing touches on opening day Tuesday. Carlson called the project "a designer's dream" and described the look as having many different elements, including industrial pieces as well as some bling.
Ellingson calls it "urban glam with a little bit of bling."
Her sister, Paulette Nantz, also had a hand in the design. Nantz is an independent architect living in Texas. She drew the initial set of plans that were then passed onto Kim Mattison with the builder, PACES Lodging.
Ellingson and Krahn pitched the idea for a women-centric shopping and salon "village" to PACES' owner, Kevin Christianson, a few years ago. Christianson owned the land near 32nd Avenue and 45th Street, and originally intended it to one day be home to a big box store.
He loved the idea, so the sisters got busy designing their dream salon and spa and recruited their friends to open stores nearby. The area is now home to women's clothing stores Leela and Lavender and Laurie's, A Cutting Edge Jewelry and Grain Designs, a reclaimed wood furniture and decor business.
'Be our guest'
Ellingson and Krahn first dreamed of owning their own salon when they were in the ninth grade back in Borup, Minn. They held onto that dream, went to beauty school together and opened their first beauty salon together in 1983 in Ada, Minn.
By 1986, they'd moved to Fargo and opened a Hair Success salon in south Fargo. In 1991, they opened a second location in north Fargo.
In 1997, they built and moved into a new south Fargo location at 1638 32nd Ave. S. to house the salon and the first day spa in North Dakota, Ellingson said.
Hair Success Salon and Spa at BLU Water Creek replaces that location as well as the former salon and spa at 1461 Broadway.
The new location is the latest in a long line of business successes for the sisters. After struggling to find stylists for their salons, they launched their own beauty school — The Salon Professional Academy — in 2002. They quickly franchised concept and now have 45 schools across the U.S. and Canada.
Ellingson said they have great managers and staff who run the Fargo salon and spa and beauty school, so she and Krahn spend most of their time managing the franchise.
But for now, they're going to take some time to appreciate their latest accomplishment and to share it with their clients.
"We want Fargo-Moorhead to be our guest," Krahn said. "That's why we built it. We want to give people a higher level of service than we ever have before."
Ellingson added, "And the people from Grand Forks, Fergus Falls and Winnipeg. Everyone."