- September 5, 2021
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Beachside Beauty in Destin opened its doors just weeks before COVID-19 hit, then came the shutdown, but today it is thriving and doing “quality” work.
Beachside Beauty, located in Shoreline Village Mall at the corner of U.S. 98 and Gulf Shore Drive, opened Feb. 10, 2020.
“We were open about two or three weeks, then had to shut down,” said Jason Wetzel who owns the salon along with his wife, Susie.
“It was tough but we made it … awesome clients kept us going,” he said.
“As soon as the restrictions were lifted, the people were right back. The same people that were with us that first month, came right back,” Jason said, noting the customers were worried and glad they survived the two-month shutdown.
“I feel like things are just now happening,” Jason said.
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“It’s spring break and we’re getting more business than we can shake a stick at. I feel like everybody here is super busy,” he said.
As a matter of fact, one day last week they turned away 20 to 30 people because they were so busy.
Beachside Beauty is spacious inside and has eight pedicure stations as well as eight manicure stations, but all are 6 feet apart. And they have a ventilation system that sucks out the smells of acrylics.
“We became one of the first salons in Okaloosa County to have a vent system that gets rid of bad gases and smells out of the building,” Jason said.
Beachside Beauty offers all types of waxing, from regular waxing to sugar waxing.
“We do all types of nail services,” Jason said. “The only thing we don’t do is dip for a couple of sanitary reasons,” he said.
They also do esthetician skin care from chemical peels to regular “feel good” facials, he said.
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“We do pretty much everything but hair,” Susie said, noting they do makeup as well.
“We can take care of bridal parties … a whole spa day for a bridal party. We can accommodate for that,” Susie said.
They also recently added massage therapy to their list of services.
Although things are looking up now, Jason said it was “painful” when they first started.
“I felt like we were flat broke when we opened up,” he said. “On day one, not a single person came in … the door did not open.
“It was painful, but we just kept at it and tried to stay positive,” he said. “We opened back up and the people are coming and they like our services.
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“Pretty much anybody that comes here, stays with us,” he said. “We haven’t really lost customers. I feel like we have pulled in customers. They come in, and check us out and they never leave.”
Although the spring breakers and summer visitors are a nice addition, the Wetzels are more focused on the locals.
“We really focus on our locals and keeping our locals happy,” Jason said, noting he counts anyone who stays in the area three to four months of the year as a local.
Beachside Beauty also gives local discounts and military discounts, plus any type of service industry.
“Give me a reason to give you a discount and I’ll try to help you out,” Jason said.
“We want to take care of the people who were born and raised here,” he said, noting he’s a graduate of Choctawhatchee High School who came back home.
After high school, Jason went to the University of Florida then joined the military where he lived all over the world. He had a friend who was a tattoo artist and the two joined forces and worked in Las Vegas.
Susie is from Bakersville, California, and moved to Las Vegas, which is where the two met.
“The day I left I’ve been trying to get back home,” Jason said.
As a matter of fact, he asked Susie on their first date if she’d ever consider moving to Florida.
After a vacation to visit his dad here on the Emerald Coast, she was sold.
Jason sold his part in the company on the West Coast and started Beachside Beauty along with Susie and a silent partner.
The salon is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. The salon is closed on Sunday.
“We definitely take walk-ins but they are hard to come by … can never guarantee,” he said.
Appointments are recommended.
What makes Beachside Beauty different or special?
“We talk to people,” Jason said. “It feels like a soap opera in here sometimes.”
“We do try really hard to have a connection with our clients,” Susie said, who’s been in the nail and spa business for 11 years.
“Your appointment may take a little longer but we like building relationships with the clients. It’s more than just an appointment,” she said. “We’re here for quality, not quantity.”