Remedies named top small business

Published 10:02 pm Monday, May 7, 2012

Four years ago, Rhonda Bunch never could have predicted Remedies Salon, Spa and Barbershop would be the 2012 Suffolk Small Business of the Year. She was still in lemonade-making mode after life gave her some big lemons.

The building that housed the business had been damaged during the tornado that ripped through the city on April 28, 2008. The business was not even 3 years old yet.

Rhonda Bunch, the manager of Remedies Salon, Spa and Barbershop, says her secrets to success are talented employees and loyal clients. She is pictured in front of the business last week.

“In the salon industry, you can’t be out of commission but so long, or your clients will go elsewhere,” she said.

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Bunch, a born-and-bred Suffolk girl, had started the business after a lifetime of being a self-avowed “spa addict.” She was working as an executive secretary at Lakeview Medical Center when the dermatology department started looking into microdermabrasion, a cosmetic process that removes dead skin cells.

“I dove into finding out about that equipment,” she said. “Once we bought it, it became obvious to me I was very interested in skin care.”
Once she found out that it required being a certified aesthetician to operate the machine, “I was like, ‘OK, what does it take to be an aesthetician?’” she said.

That was the first step on the path to owning the salon. Remedies Salon and Spa opened in August 2005.

It grew rapidly, so much that Bunch already knew prior to the tornado that the business would have to expand. The only questions were when and to where.

“Mother Nature decided to give us a shove,” she said.

Remarkably, the business opened at its new location at 1514 Holland Road only two weeks after the tornado. Hairstylists had visited clients’ homes in the interim.

“Sometimes we don’t know what’s best for us,” Bunch said. “The move has afforded us more of a visual location for growing the business. That’s the old saying, ‘Take lemons and make lemonade.’”

The salon and spa now offer massage, skin care, hair care, nail care, waxing, permanent makeup, electrolysis and laser options for hair removal, skin rejuvenation and vein therapy.

In addition, the business expanded to open a barbershop within the past year, Bunch said.

Bunch credits her 15 or so employees and her clients for the business’ growth.

“The success of Remedies I give to my staff and my loyal client following,” she said. “The client loyalty and client referrals are the reason we grow, and I really give credit to my staff for their talent and their professionalism.”

Bunch also recognized a large group of shareholders who “really make the place run smoothly” as well as her family, husband David and sons Brian, 26, and Brennan, 18.

“I’m just the person that makes sure the day-to-day runs OK,” she said. “I’ve got a good group of girls that have been in the business forever and know how it should run.”

The Suffolk Small Business of the Year Award will be presented by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce at the annual awards banquet on May 22. At the banquet, the regional Small Business of the Year will be announced. Remedies will compete against these four businesses for the regional award:

  • Phoenix Group of Virginia — Chesapeake
  • Taste Unlimited — Norfolk
  • SimIS Inc. — Portsmouth
  • A-Active Termite & Pest Control Company — Virginia Beach

In addition, U3C Italian Ice Café in Harbour View has been named among the “Top 10 to Watch” and also will be recognized at the luncheon.