Mike Nguyen owned Elite Nails in Schofield for about seven years, but when his father had a heart attack, Nguyen quickly sold the business to take care of him.
With his father’s health now improving, Nguyen decided to get back into the nail business, and saw the perfect opportunity in the Cedar Creek Mall.
His business, Natural Nails, opened in the mall Aug. 1, adding to the growing number of new businesses popping up in the recently renovated shopping and entertainment center.
Nguyen says he’s gotten a lot of compliments from customers who say they’re happy with the location. Nguyen chose the Cedar Creek area specifically to serve Mosinee and Kronenwetter customers who might not want to drive all the way to Wausau to get their nails done. “Now, they can go to the movies, or go enjoy the shops here, and get their nails done,” Nguyen says.
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Nguyen says he’s spent 15 years in the nails business, and both of his sisters — one in Virginia, one in Texas — are also involved. Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam in 1990, says he started working in a factory before learning the nail trade.
He got hooked on the feeling he gives customers when they leave with freshly painted nails. “It makes them feel good about themselves,” Nguyen says. “They leave happy about themselves and it’s relaxing. They leave more confident because they look pretty.”
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Nguyen’s shop opening caps off a steady period of growth for the Cedar Creek Mall. Planet Fitness opened there late last year, claiming a huge footprint. Phantom Laser Tag, originally slated for the Pope’s Hobbyland building on 3rd Street, opened its mall location in May, and Chase Outdoors recently relocated to the mall last month. Developers hint there may be more store openings ahead.
The once struggling mall now has only eight of 33 storefronts waiting to be filled. “Since the new owner took over, he’s done a great job remodeling and getting more tenants in here,” Nguyen says.