A new tanning salon in Williamsburg is hoping to bring some California sunshine to the East Coast.
Sundays Sun Spa Shop opened in the WindsorMeade Marketplace on Feb. 26, according to owner Dennis Ligon. Sundays has moved in next to Tropical Smoothie Café.
As its name indicates, Sundays Sun Spa Shop offers several tanning and spa services. The new store has 13 rooms with machines such as tanning beds, automated airbrushing spray-tanners, massage chairs, red light skin therapy and detoxifying steam-less spas.
Owner Dennis Ligon said the equipment is state-of-the-art, calling it the “Mercedes” of equipment that can be used for “Walmart prices.”
The salon has been open less than two weeks, but Ligon struck a note of optimism.
“Williamsburg is a nice community,” he said. “We’ve already found a great crowd, great customers. We’re off to one of the best starts we’ve ever had.”
Ligon himself is a tanner, which he said he discovered after moving to California in the early 1990s.
“Everybody else had a beautiful tan except me,” Ligon said. “I was the palest guy in San Diego.”
Ligon found he enjoyed tanning, and when he moved to Virginia after three years on the West Coast, his interest came with him. He opened his first Sundays in Virginia Beach in 1993, and, more than two decades later, he has locations across the Southside. The Williamsburg location of Sundays Sun Spa is the chain’s 20th.
However, this is the first Sundays in Greater Williamsburg, with the next closest location in Newport News.
Sundays new store is in a space that was previously occupied by a Body & Sol, a tanning boutique. Ligon said his company plans to expand as far as Gloucester County, and when the Body & Sol salon went out of business, Sundays moved into the Williamsburg area.
“It’s an upscale market,” Ligon said. “A perfect market for our brand.”
Sundays’ expansion, Ligon said, is based on its approach to customer service: Adding membership options has allowed Sundays to continue to attract customers year-round, rather than only during the summer.
In order to draw customers, he said he’s lowered prices and made customer service a priority. Customers can become members for $78.88 a month and gain unlimited access to tanning, spray-tan and spa services.
The approach has drawn in 20,000 members, Ligon said, and customers participate in nearly one million tanning and spa sessions annually.
He said he stresses tanning in moderation, and he hopes to add even more members in Williamsburg.
“The tanning industry has changed night and day from 15 years ago,” Ligon said. “You’ve got to adapt. The old way of doing things 20 years ago doesn’t fly.”