The potential of Fort Dodge's Corridor of Commerce to attract new businesses to the city got its latest illustration earlier this month.
Tuyen Nguyen opened Be Be Nails & Spa, 2307 Fifth Ave. S., June 3. Nguyen's son, Tien Nguyen, who helps manage the store, said the family had been working in Chicago and sought an Iowa location as the site for a new business venture. He said the market potential locally for this type of business - and in particular the boom along Fifth Avenue South - were major reasons they decided to locate the store in Fort Dodge.
"It has a lot of opportunities," Nguyen said of Fort Dodge, adding that the store's location just west of Wendy's puts it in a high-traffic, high-visibility venue.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Be Be Nails & Spa owner Tuyen Nguyen, at left, prepares to give Ngan Nguyen a pedicure recently in their new spa at 2307 Fifth Ave. S.
Be Be Nails & Spa offers a variety of services related to nails and what Nguyen characterized as truly state-of-the art pedicures.
"Our pedicures are top-of-the-line here," he said. "We have six of this year's newest spa chairs. ... We provide a deluxe spa pedicure like the big cities. ... We massage their feet with a sea salt scrub and that removes dead skin. ... We cut back the cuticles and all that and shape up the nails."
There are two pedicure options - regular and deluxe.
"With a regular pedicure, you get a sea salt scrub and then the basics of a pedicure and lotion massage," Nguyen said. "With the deluxe you get a sea salt scrub, the basic pedicure and you get a mud mask wrap with a hot towel. The mud mask adds back minerals into the skin. The deluxe pedicure takes close to an hour. We massage with oil. The oil that we use is the oil that is used in a massage spa for relaxing. That adds smoothness to the skin. After that, we put lotion on."
The nail services at Be Be Nails and Spa also involve choices.
"We can do actual nails and fake nails," Nguyen said, noting that a color powder option the store offers is new to this area.
Store owner Tuyen Nguyen brings 13 years of experience in the field to this new business venture, her son said. He said his aunt, Lisa Lu, who also works in the store, adds an additional dimension.
"My aunt is really good with designs," Tien Nguyen said. "She does water color designs, acrylic paint designs on the nails."
He said high quality, creative nail work is a key part of what Be Be Nails & Spa offers and a passion for that has made his mother successful in this field.
"She likes being creative and she likes doing new nail art," Nguyen said.
Be Be Nails & Spa serves both male and female customers, but Nguyen said the overwhelming majority of the customers are women. He said the store is drawing patrons of all ages.
The store is currently open seven days a week. The hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays. Appointments are available, but Nguyen said walk-ins are also welcome. He said gift certificates are also available.
The store's four staff members are fully licensed by the state of Iowa.
Meet the Nguyens
The Nguyens have roots in the area near Saigon. Family members have relocated to the United States over the last two decades.
"My grandpa fought in the war," Tien Nguyen said. "He got hosted over and then he hosted my dad."
He said the motivation for coming to the U.S. was quite simple: "To have a better life."
Tuyen Nguyen and her son arrived in this country in 2001.
"We went from Vietnam to Norfolk, Neb., then to Carroll, Iowa," Tien Nguyen said. Business opportunities took them to Chicago and now back to Iowa.
Nguyen said the relocation to the United States is permanent, but he and his relatives visit their home country periodically because they still have family there.
He said he has seen many changes in Vietnam since he moved to the U.S. a dozen years ago.
"It is more modernized now," Nguyen said.