The Shop Salon is in its one year anniversary and is situated in beautiful downtown Rushford, Minn., at Pam’s Corner. Nikki Johnson is the owner and a hairstylist as well. But one must know that this is not a stereotypical hair salon and Miss Nikki Johnson is not your run of the mill hair dresser. She is much more than that and has a wonderful and heartwarming story about her success as a local small business owner in Fillmore County.
When I sat down to interview Miss Nikki, I got the impression that she was an eclectic lady and was probably from a big city, like Minneapolis; but a city slicker she is not. It turns out that Miss Nikki spent a good part of her life raised on a farm in Highland. As a teenager, she and her family moved to Rushford, where she graduated in 2003. When asked if she missed the farm life, Nikki replied, “I miss the landscape of the rolling hills and the openness that surrounds Highland, but mostly I miss the beautiful sunsets. I am grateful for having the experience of growing up in such beautiful and open surroundings.” She went on to say that she was 15 years old when she moved to Rushford and loved the town. Little did she know, however, that 15 years later she would be running a successful small business here. “Moving from the country to the city was a good life lesson for me and I am glad about that.”
When asked what her aspirations were after she graduated high school, she replied, “Becoming a hairstylist has always been an interest of mine. When I was a teenager, I was always messing with my friends hair.” She smiled and went on to say, “I even cut all of my Barbies’ hair, which was a bad decision on my part. That just didn’t turn out good.”
However, Nikki didn’t jump into cosmotology school after graduation. Instead she was accepted into St. Augustine University and swiftly moved to Soux Falls, S. Dak., where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sales and Marketing. “I didn’t think there was good money in cosmotology and I didn’t think it would be a a good choice. I realized that I would have more opportunity if I attended college and got a marketing degree.” After graduating from St. Augustine, Nikki moved to Dallas, Tex., where she was hired as the sales manager at the upscale Limeridian Hotel. She also worked at the W. Dallas Victory Hotel in administrative sales. “I climbed the corporate ladder quickly, but knew deep down that I wasn’t going to live there. I wanted to go back to Minnesota. I loved Dallas, but it just wasn’t for me.”
So Nikki packed her bags and relocated to the big bright city of Minneapolis, where she accepted the position as sales manager at the reputable Autograph Hotel. When asked how she liked the big city life, she stated, “I was happily distracted for a while but really missed southern Minnesota. To be honest, I didn’t like the dynamics of city living and corporate America was sucking me up. I craved the openness and more so, the beautiful sunsets.” Then she stated that she had a vision. “I was 27 and stuck in the rat race that living in a big city brings.” Nikki decided to rattle her big city life. She quit corporate America and humbly attended cosmotology school. “I graduated in 2013 and felt like I was making the right decision. I moved back to the bluffs and used my college degree to start my own business. I appreciated the diversity of my travels and it made me a more rounded person.”
Nikki didn’t want to start out in debt. When asked if she was awarded a small business loan, she said, “I didn’t want a loan. I wanted to start this new chapter in life with my own money and so I saved and saved. I saved as much as I could for many years, just for my salon.”
Nikki opened her salon in June of 2017, debt free. “I felt in my heart that it was a good investment. I also felt that my great-grandma was guiding me because June was her birth month. I thought that was special.” When I asked Nikki what she liked most about owning and managing her own salon, she replied, “It was never really about the hair, it was about how passionate I am in helping to boost a person’s self esteem and getting a new hair style does that.” Nikki is also passionate about giving back to the community. She recently coordinated a fundraiser and earned a large amount of money to help raise awareness about mental illness. She also offers a free book nook box right outside the front door of her posh little salon.
The salon itself is a sight to see, tastefully decorated with a crystal chandelier combined with a rustic country feel. Nikki has integrated a small boutique and gives back to the community by supporting local businesses. “I sell a small assortment of clothing and earrings handmade by a local woman.” The Shop Salon also offers facial waxing and free coffee while you wait. Her business cards state information about her website (theshopsalonmn.wixsite.com/theshop) and an inspiring quote on the back…”Singing is joy in your heart, and dancing is freedom in your soul.”
For more information on hours and available appointments, call (507) 864-7607 and Miss Nikki Johnson will hook you up.