By Gary Nager

Long-time readers of this publication know that I have never been a big fan of manicures or pedicures. But, considering that there are nail salons in virtually every shopping center in New Tampa, I must be in the minority.

With so many nail places to choose from, what is it about Happy Nails & Spa, located in the Shoppes at the Pointe in Tampa Palms plaza (next to the Coffee Beanery and behind Red Lobster and Olive Garden), that has allowed it to not only survive but thrive and even expand not only in this economy, but in a plaza that has seen more failures than successes?

In my opinion, it all starts with owners Jennifer Le and her husband Le. Originally from Vietnam, the New Tampa residents are not only both talented nail technicians themselves, they have surrounded themselves with other experienced nail professionals who truly make you feel like you’re at a beautiful European-style spa — at a fraction of the cost.

“Our goal is always to make our customers happy,” Jennifer says. “We like to make you feel comfortable, joke around with you, and give you the best possible nail services at the best price.”

And apparently, they’re pretty darn good at accomplishing that goal. Happy Nails & Spa originally opened with five pedicure chairs and six manicure tables in about 800 sq. ft. in the plaza in April 2003, after Le previously owned a similar salon in upstate New York. Eight years later, in July of this year, Jennifer and Le doubled their size to about 1,600 sq. ft. and now have a total of nine nail techs plying their craft at 11 tables and 10 chairs. Jennifer says she and her husband, who have been together for ten years and married for more than six, both really enjoy their work…and especially, their customers.

All of the techs working at Happy Nails & Spa are well-trained and highly experienced and Jennifer says cleanliness and safety are very important to her and her husband.

She says, “All of our techs take the time to do the job right and protect our clients” from the types of infections too often found at other nail salons.

“We’ve been here so long and seen so many other businesses come and go in this plaza that we know our customers are telling all of their friends to come here, too,” Jennifer adds. “We know it because everyone tells us so. And, as they saying goes, our customers really are always right!”

The day I visited Happy Nails & Spa, one three-year customer and Tampa Palms resident named Penne told me that she won’t get her nails done anyplace else. In fact, Penne was visiting with her grandmother Olene, who moved to the area from Texas this summer, and both women said they loved not only the service they receive at the salon, but also Jennifer, Le and all of the nail techs at Happy Nails.

“The pedicures are simply fabulous here,” Penne says as her technician massaged her feet. “Other salons say they give you a massage with your pedicure, but they’re simply not like what we get here.”

In fact, Penne added, “The mom of a friend of mine has been driving from Bradenton to get her pedicures here. She said, ‘It’s worth the trip to drive here because the services are really just that much better.’ I can’t give a better recommendation than that!”

Happy Nails & Spa is located at 17028 Palm Pointe Dr. For appointments and more information, call 910-9591. Or, see the ad on page 32 for specials like a deluxe pedicure for only $25 or 10-percent off for all students. You also can get a $10 gift card every time you spend $50 (limit one per customer per visit) by mentioning the ad or this story.

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