TOP Nails Is Latest of New Additions at the Top of Square PlazaBy Watertown Daily Times
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2015 AT 12:30 AM
WATERTOWN — As the latest addition to the Top of the Square Plaza, TOP Nails has set out to become the premiere salon in the city for manicures, pedicures, waxing and eyelash extensions.
The grand opening on Saturday of the upscale salon — co-owned by Vietnamese-American sisters Cuc Thu Thi Le and Lyna Vo — comes after a handful of businesses recently filled vacant spots in the Arsenal Street plaza, which includes a minimall facing Court Street.
Page Fitness and the Learning Disability Association of the Mohawk Valley moved into the plaza earlier this month, while Farmers Insurance opened an office in April. Watertown real estate developer Brian H. Murray owns the plaza, which is in the bottom half of the 146 Arsenal St. building that houses the Covergys call center.
The salon, which is now seeing customers by appointment only, will be open for walk-ins in January. Hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Salon owners said they invested about $150,000 to renovate the space over a period of about four months. Previously occupied by Papa John’s, the space features an L-shaped manicure bar that is about 25 feet long with color-changing LED lighting. Regular and gel-based nail polish is offered in hundreds of colors.
“I wanted to be a unique salon unlike others in Watertown,” Ms. Le said Tuesday. “We spent double the amount that we needed to on the ventilation system.”
A wall with an arched entryway was built to separate the pedicure room, which is lined with a dozen pedicure massage chairs with foot tubs. Ms. Le said the chairs, bought at $5,500 apiece, have a variety of massage settings. Low-hanging lamps are designed to enhance the relaxing atmosphere.
Farther back, there are three private rooms for waxing and eyebrow services. A spacious party room with a large couch is situated at the rear of the business, which is available for groups to rent. The space features walls that can be custom decorated with dry-erase markers for parties, Ms. Le said, and it will soon feature a karaoke machine.
While the business is now staffed by six employees, Ms. Le said, there could be up to 20 as customer traffic grows. She said that Washington Street Properties, the Watertown real estate firm owned by Mr. Murray, provided a competitive offer on the lease for the space.
For his part, Mr. Murray said he toured the salon on Saturday night and was blown away by the investment made in the space, describing it as likely “the nicest nail salon in the city.” He said the salon will be ideal for downtown professionals who are looking for things to do during breaks.
The plaza went through a rough patch earlier this year. It lost Papa John’s, Beyond Nerd, New York Fashions, Rhonda’s Footeworks and Jiu-Jitsu Nation.
But Mr. Murray said it didn’t take long to fill those vacancies and replace them with a “really good mix” of tenants. “It’s almost full now, and we think the nail salon, Page Fitness and Farmers Insurance are fantastic tenants for downtown,” he said.
Jamie S. Wood, owner of Page Fitness Athletic Club, said the company decided to relocate from its outer Washington Street location into the plaza because the downtown space is more visible. He said the club hired two employees after moving into the space on Dec. 1, increasing its staff size to 11.
“We have 6,400 square feet of open space here and can cater it to what we do best,” Mr. Wood said, adding the club will host a “grand opening week” with promotions from Jan. 9 through Jan. 15.
The space was previously occupied by Jiu-Jitsu Nation, he said, which moved out after being unable to make rent payments.
Jacob J. Exford, owner of the Farmers Insurance office in the plaza, said he relocated in April from an office he opened in September 2014 at 18987 Route 11. The 23-year-old, who now runs the office alone, said he plans to hire up to three more employees in the next year.
“Being downtown is convenient with the other businesses around and the close proximity to the DMV office,” Mr. Exford said.
Other tenants in the plaza include Family Dollar, Carthage Savings & Loan Association, Prometric Testing Center and Calvary Chapel North Country.