Established in 2002, current owners David and Lori El Shanti purchased the salon and spa in March 2012.
Sumatra Salon & Spa is an Aveda Salon & Spa located at Virginia Beach Town Center. They offer all of the salon and spa services you will ever need in one location. Their stylists and estheticians continually receive advanced and ongoing training in order to stay at the top of their field with the latest trends and techniques so that we may provide their guests with the best salon and spa services available. Whether you are looking for a beautiful new hair color and style, or a relaxing spa treatment, they are devoted to making sure that your time with them is personal and non-rushed. Their salon and spa services include haircuts for men and women, highlights, hair color, keratin treatments, bridal services, full body waxing, facials, massage, manicures, pedicures and body wraps.
David and Lori left their corporate jobs for an opportunity of a lifetime. They collectively have over 45 years of retail management and customer service experience. Having worked in the corporate environment, they understand how important it is to look and feel your best, everyday.
David once owned a successful small business. Lori worked in the banking industry helping small businesses establish their dreams. Marrying the two and becoming the owners has been their lifelong dream. They are passionate and excited to offer the top investment opportunity to you…the “Sumatra Experience”!
Lori grew up in Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach and ultimately they knew they wanted to move back to be closer to her parents. After having been very successful working in a corporate environment, they decided to take their experience and passion for client satisfaction to the Salon & Spa industry.
They decided to purchase an established business so that defrayed the start up cost and allowed them to step right in on day one with an operating storefront. By purchasing the existing business, it allowed them to complete the process within three months. This allowed their business plan that they established to begin being implemented on day one.
When they started out, their biggest challenge was building their brand. Since it was an existing business, many of those clients followed the previous owner and it did not have the greatest customer service reputation. They needed to really focus on advertising under new ownership. They reached out to a local newspaper reporter for an article and held a grand opening, inviting Mayor Sessoms.
One lesson they learned through experience was to solely focus advertising dollars on website, Internet, and radio, as well as building relationships in the business community in which you belong. They found that print ads were not very successful. “Don’t underestimate the power of client feedback and the Internet,” Lori and David warned. “Be sure to have a system in place that allows you to solicit feedback. Always view the constructive feedback as an opportunity to learn and coach. The customer is always right!. We are still working on marketing Sumatra Salon & Spa to grow our business through innovative ways.”
Their greatest success has been focusing their salon and spa on business development, community involvement and establishing a retail focus. They have established many new relationships in the business community and this has been the core to growing their business, as business owners need services too. They have also been involved in fundraising/donations for many local organizations and Lori is on the board for a non-profit organization named Protecting Children Foundation. Lastly, in a service industry, it is always a great idea to focus on retail product sales…this helps to create loyal clients and they did just that through partnering with Aveda.
When asked what the best part of owning their business is, they answered emphatically, “Our guests! We get to work side by side and are present to see their satisfaction and sometimes their transformation. We have fun and love meeting new people.”
Their advice to other budding retailers is that in order to receive great rewards, you must take great risks. Be sure to have strong support close to you and enough capital to supplement you as you start your business.