BIZ BRIEFS WV OBSERVER
By Michael Chalmers
Local Salon & Spa Owner to Open Vietnamese Restaurant
Vi Vo Nguyen owns and operates one of the premier salon and day spas in Jefferson County. VIVO Hair Salon & Day Spa, Inc., situated conveniently at 1315 W. Washington Street, in Harpers Ferry, offers a huge selection of full-service options, where attention to detail is second-to-none. And when you get to know Vi Vo, you realize pretty quickly why her business continues to grow, and why she plans to ride that success into Ranson with her next venture—a beautifully designed and fully considered Vietnamese restaurant.
But first, the salon/spa, which isn’t just an impeccably clean symbol of dedication and customer service; it’s a story about history, determination, and success as an only option. Vi Vo came to America fourteen years ago from Vietnam with one goal in mind: to overcome the hardships of her life back home, and find a way to immediately support her parents and siblings still there. After two years at NOVA Community College to learn the language and some basics, she quickly found work doing shampoo in a hair salon in Alexandria, Va.
“I never thought I’d become a hairdresser,” she remembers. “I was always more of a tomboy, and intended on going to college and becoming an accountant or a teacher.”
But her goal to support her family held precedence, and after three months at the salon, she not only fell in love with the profession, but she knew that she would only be happy, and her family would be much better off, if she owned a business.
The dream started to take shape in 2002, when her husband, Khuong—who worked in the construction/building industry—received a promotion to become the superintendent of a newly planned neighborhood in Charles Town, West Virginia—Huntfield.
“I commuted back to D.C. for a while, but it was tough,” she says—knowing that she could probably open up a business locally and fulfill her goals to not only support her family back in Vietnam, but create a full-service salon/spa business that really had no equal in its offerings. Eventually she and Khuong discovered a perfect location in Harpers Ferry. He did an amazing rehab job on the structure and Vi Vo’s dream was born.
VIVO gradually evolved into a full-service spa/salon in the truest sense (scalp massages with your haircut, anyone? Check out the full selection at www.vivodayspa.com)—to the extent that they even offered lunch or dinner in their packages. This led to an idea that they might make the food in-house and sort of merge two businesses (both Vi Vo and Khuong have food service backgrounds in Vietnam). However, it became apparent that this idea might be better realized in an actual restaurant. So Khuong suggested as much for the next phase of VIVO.
“He said, why don’t we open a restaurant? Our boys are getting older and they can learn the work, and it can be for them to learn about business and responsibility,” she recalls. “Khuong will be running the restaurant; it will be his baby in the way that the salon is mine.”
Jefferson County should take note—Khuong is currently rehabbing a property in downtown Ranson that will soon be the home of VIVO Restaurant & Bar (set to open in 2015). Once again, every detail has been considered, and Vi Vo’s homemade Vietnamese recipes will no doubt have locals talking about her food in the same way they do about her salon/spa.
“Our goal at the salon is to make you feel pampered and look fabulous,” she says. “Our goal at the restaurant will be to offer delicious, healthy Vietnamese cuisine that people know and like, combined with amazing service in a beautiful place.”
Vi Vo Nguyen knows a little something about goals. She’s been achieving them since she arrived in America over a decade ago. It should come as no surprise that she’s about to break new ground and offer another exclusive service in Jefferson County.
Find VIVO at vivodayspa.com and on Facebook.