New salon business takes residence in Sister Lakes

Published 9:08 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

SISTER LAKES — Trimming, snipping, shaving, pampering and polishing cuticles will still be available at Studio 204 Salon Sister Lakes.

As the salon with a collective of cosmetic businesses grieves the departure of Spa-toe-pia, it also welcomes the introduction of McKenzie Hassle’s new nail business.

Hassle is a lifelong resident of Sister Lakes and a former apprentice of Jacqueline Hale, the owner of Spa-toe-pia. She apprenticed with Spa-toe-pia and eventually received her nail technician license, then decided to go out on her own as her former mentor began opening a new salon. While Hassle said her introduction to Studio 204, located at 92402 County Road in Dowagiac, is challenging, it is a timely and exciting move for her.

McKenzie Hassle

“Starting a business has been a challenge,” Hassle said. “It’s a lot to learn, but it’s exciting. I’ve had a ton of fun in the first week and really enjoyed being at work. I’m excited to see what happens. But it’s definitely a challenge. I couldn’t have done it without my family and the hair girls at Studio 204.”

Hassle believes her business will be a good fit at Studio 204 not only because she trained there and knows the other tenants, but because the salon is part of her family history. Her cousin Kris Kramer is the former owner of the salon, and Hassle said that gives her a special connection to the place and the work she will be doing.

“It has a special place in my heart for sure,” she said.

The collective nature of Studio 204 is also a draw for Hassle. She likes that she and the other tenants of the studio have comradery and good working relationships, but maintain their independence as separate businesses.

“I get along well with the girls over there,” Hassle said. “We are individual businesses, but we are working as a team. It’s great having a good group of coworkers and a good clientele in [Sister Lakes].”

Even as a new business owner, Hassle said she is setting herself apart as a personable and high-quality choice.

“I think my business is set apart from others because I enjoy getting to know clients,” Hassle said. “It’s about making them feel like they are the main priority. As long as my clients are happy, that makes me happy. It’s not just a place to get your nails done. It’s a place to come and relax.”

As she moves into the space formerly occupied by Spa-toe-pia, Hassle has not forgotten where she learned her craft.

“I’m thankful for the many lessons I learned from Spa-toe-pia,” Hassle said. “I wish [Hale’s] crew the best of luck in Dowagiac. She’s happy in that building. It was her dream to own her own salon.”

Although Hassle officially moved in and began working Tuesday, April 9, she is still not completely settled. There is still more work to be done as Spa-toe-pia makes its exit to its own building, so she has operated out of spare room in Studio 204 for the time being. She is, however, taking clients and making appointments. Interested readers can find and follow Hassle’s work on Instagram and Facebook, and contact her through those mediums as well.