Touch of Paradise Salon & Spa

It’s a new year, one the Shippensburg University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and a Franklin County woman are greeting with a sense of accomplishment. The center, which opened its doors in January 2007, has officially helped Tessie Guyer open hers.

Guyer’s business -- Touch of Paradise Salon and Spa, LLC, located in Fayetteville -- is just one of the 11 new businesses the new center helped to open through 2008. The center also aided in the purchase of two additional businesses.

While the menu of services includes hair and skin care, manicures and pedicures, tanning, and body wraps, Touch of Paradise is not your average salon. The Bahamian-inspired décor features a tikki bar reception desk, bohemian print waiting area and handrails made to look like surf boards.

“I wanted a salon that offered the personal services that men and women want but in an environment that is relaxing and carefree,” Guyer said. “For me that’s always meant sun, sand and surf, so Touch of Paradise is a reflection of all of those things.”

Guyer will be the first to say that the road from dreaming about being a salon owner to actually opening her business has been a long one. She first began the journey in March 2007 when she attended two workshops presented by the Shippensburg University SBDC. With a basic foundation beneath her from attending “The First Step” and “Writing a Business Plan,” Guyer then began working one-on-one with an SBDC consultant. Together they completed her business plan, developed a financial plan and prepared the documentation needed to secure funding.

“When I went to the bank with my business plan, the loan officer was amazed by how thorough and accurate everything was. She said repeatedly that I was more prepared than most of the business owners who come in requesting money,” said Guyer, who was awarded a $50,000 loan from F&M Trust in July 2007.

After months of planning and remodeling, Tessie opened her doors to a full slate of customers the day before Thanksgiving. And she is proud to say that she has had a full datebook ever since.

“It took nearly a year to open Touch of Paradise, but it was worth it. With the SBDC’s help, I had guidance every step of the way,” she said.

Guyer discovered that business ownership comes with a perk: as a spa owner, she can wear flip-flops to work, even in the dead of winter. Skin and hair care may be the top priority at the business, but at Touch of Paradise, relaxation and fun are part of the package.