Others step up to honor closed salon’s gift cards
It still bothers Julie Nelson. Several years ago, her children gave her a $100 gift certificate for Richard N's Shoes that she was never able to redeem. The store, at Miller Hill Mall, closed before she could use it. "They would never honor it," ...
It still bothers Julie Nelson.
Several years ago, her children gave her a $100 gift certificate for Richard N’s Shoes that she was never able to redeem. The store, at Miller Hill Mall, closed before she could use it.
“They would never honor it,” Nelson said. “They wouldn’t even answer my phone calls about it. That stuck with me.”
It’s a big reason Nelson, the owner/manager of Trends Day Spa & Salon in Superior, decided to honor the gift certificates that customers of Elysium Salon and Day Spa were left holding when Elysium shut down unexpectedly in September. Many had purchased certificates within weeks of its closing during a two-for-one offer - a $25 gift certificate would get them $50 worth in services, etc.
“I may be biting off more than we can chew, but I feel bad for people,” Nelson said. “Maybe they’ll like our salon and stay here. It’s a gamble. I don’t know how many gift certificates they have out. I just thought we’d try it.”
Nelson isn’t the only one reaching out to those customers and hoping they’ll come back.
Since a story about Elysium’s closing leaving customers with worthless gift certificates and cards ran in Monday’s News Tribune, at least four other local salons have stepped up to honor all or part of their face values.
Christal Center, a longtime wellness-focused center offering massage, skin treatments, acupuncture and, soon, an organic hair studio, was the first to step up.
“We saw the story,” said Sarina Webb, its general manager. “We’re going to honor them with no more thought. We are very passionate about the benefits of massage and don’t think it is fair for the customers who paid for services to be denied them.”
She said they’re most interested in doing the right thing.
“It was crappy what Elysium did,” Webb said. “It’s kind of our duty to help those people out, to right a wrong and make our karma that much better. We don’t expect to make any money out of it. It would be great if they come back, but that wasn’t obviously our goal.”
By Tuesday, word was getting out about the Christal Center’s offer.
“The phones are ringing off the hook,” Webb said. “A lot of freebies are on the book.”
It took a few days to get corporate approval, but Younkers Hair and Nail Salon in Duluth is also reaching out to those Elysium customers left with unused certificates.
“That’s so unfortunate what’s going on there,” said Therese Spehar, director of salon operations at the Miller Hill Mall store.
So Younkers will honor up to $50 in gift certificates and cards purchased in 2014, accompanied by a receipt when the value or purchase date is unclear.
“You never want to see customers in a bad state,” Spehar said. “It’s our opportunity to take a bad situation and turn it into a good situation.”
On Thursday they got the go-ahead from corporate headquarters in Milwaukee.
“Once I shared the story, they were very supportive,” Spehar said.
Two other salons are offering substantial discounts for Elysium gift card and certificate holders.
At the On the Canal Salon and Spa, owner Patti Miller wanted to do something since, like Elysium, her business is a full-service spa and an Aveda salon.
“It’s unfortunate. I’m sad that they’re closed,” Miller said of Elysium. “It’s sad that those gift cards were sold to those people when they probably shouldn’t have been. I feel badly for those people who are stuck with something they can’t redeem.”
So she’s offering anyone with an Elysium gift certificate or gift card, no matter the value, 50 percent off their first service at On the Canal Salon and Spa in Canal Park. And if they have a second service while there, they get 25 percent off that cost.
“I just think it’s the right thing to do,” Miller said. “And if I can make somebody’s day, it’s worth it.”
Kelsey O’Neil, who is taking over ownership of Vain Salon in downtown Duluth, also is offering 50 percent off hair services at her salon, no matter how much the value of the gift certificate.
“I think that’s just horrible,” she said of the Elysium situation. “I just feel so bad for those people who had gift certificates and even had appointments and didn’t get calls that they were closing. I could never do that to people. I want to offer those people discounts.”
Most of the salons and spas said their offers would continue until the end of the year.
“That would be enough time to come in,” O’Neil said.