Businesses find niche inside local salon

ELKO — For psychic Jeani Ambrose, beauty salons are an ideal spot to find new clients.

In fact, she’s been working out of them for about 18 years. Ambrose most recently moved into Suzy’s Hair Nails in Elko last month, having last visited the salon in February.

“I was thinking, ‘If I ever worked in Elko, I could work in a place like this,” Ambrose said.

She moved to Elko from Reno after salon owner Suzy Komp had a reading and invited Ambrose to rent inside her business.

“I am so open-minded, it’s ridiculous,” Komp said. “We’re a big family unit.”

Ambrose isn’t the only one who has opened a business inside the salon over the years. The shop at 1251 Lamoille Highway Suite 626 is also home to permanent makeup and tattoo artist Neko Downs.

“I’ve been amazed at the clientele,” said Downs, who has been inside Suzy’s for about four years.

While Downs initially started out as an employee, last month she switched to renting.

Both she and Ambrose rely on traditional methods for getting their businesses known in the community.

“It’s still kind of word-of-mouth,” Downs said.

Downs is a certified tattoo artist and has taken blood-borne pathogen training. She does both permanent makeup and tattoo work in a separate room within the salon. She is currently charging $150 for eyebrows or eyeliner with a free touch-up within 30 days.

Downs said she is careful about avoiding cross-contamination.

“I’m total safety girl,” she said. “Nothing is ever re-used.”

A longtime friend of Komp’s, she said working inside the salon has been beneficial. Most of her clients, Downs said, are women.

Ambrose said she does encounter those who are skeptical about her work and her readings. She tells them “Proof’s in the pudding.”

“I tell them what I see, what I feel and what I hear,” Ambrose said.

She does not do palm readings, but does use cards, though Ambrose said she doesn’t need them.

“Mainly I do that because people are comfortable with something they can look at,” she said.

A reading lasts about an hour and costs $50. Right now, those who refer five other people will receive a free reading.

Ambrose tells her clients to write down questions they want to be thinking about during the session.

“Ninety-percent of the time, I’m going to answer their questions before they ask them,” she said.

She also warns people about the dangers of becoming dependent on a psychic for making future decisions.

“I don’t tell people what to do,” Ambrose said.

On the side, Ambrose makes jewelry and writes books. When she isn’t doing a reading, she can be found interacting with customers at the salon.

Suzy’s Hair Nails has been working to expand since July. The newest stylist, Felicia Cortes, offers a variety of services, including haircuts and styling, extensions, eyelash extensions, waxing, color, Brazilian blowouts, airbrush makeup and costume makeup.

“I like the environment,” she said. “People here are very friendly.”

Cortes is a 2009 graduate from the Phoenix Empire Beauty School and started working at Suzy’s in August. She is available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

For information about Suzy’s Hair Nails, call 753-5817.