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New nail salon lets Cottage Grove couple ‘set down roots’

Bella Nails employees, specializing in manicures and pedicures, say they are already seeing repeat customers. Owner Maily Xaphakdy quietly opened the nail salon last month. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 2
Eight pedicure and six manicure stations line the 1,200-square-foot nail salon. Owner Maily Xaphakdy also gives customers free perks such as WiFi, soda, coffee and water. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 2

When Laotian-born Maily Xaphakdy came to Cottage Grove to visit her cousin more than a decade ago, she never expected to emigrate to the United States or that she would be open her own nail salon.

However, Maily, known in her new salon as Mai, and her husband, Patrick, have taken on a business venture that lets Mai’s creative side flourish.

Bella Nails Salon & Spa is the newest establishment in Cottage Grove to provide manicures and pedicures.

“I’ve been doing nails for nine years now,” she said in a recent interview. “I have also worked at a few other nail salons here in Cottage Grove.”

Emigrating in 2002 from the Champasak Province, a city in southwest Laos, Mai said family was a motivating factor to move. And having lived in Cottage Grove for the last 13 years, the Xaphakdys said this city is their hometown.

In an effort to get to know the area, the couple, along with their two children, Kelvin, 3, and Madison, 5, would drive around, Mai said.

For the last several years, they thought about opening up a nail salon and last year came across an empty storefront off Jamaica Avenue.

“We wanted to set down roots in our community and thought this was a good way to do that,” she explained.

The 1,200-square-foot empty suite, located in the retail center adjacent to Burger King on East Point Douglas Road, was the perfect size for her business venture, Mai said.

“We had a lot of family input when we began moving in,” she said. “They helped paint, bring in (equipment), design the salon, everything.”

Mai’s husband, a longtime chemist, even has a job in the salon.

“I don’t do the nails,” he joked. “I just do the bookkeeping and answer phones. It’s really a family business.”

The salon consists of eight pedicure stations, six manicure stations, a paraffin wax station, and a waiting area stocked with free soda, coffee and water. But with more than a handful of nail salons already in Cottage Grove, Mai said she has a competitive business plan, which includes years of expertise, fair prices, and seasonal discounts, that will make her salon last.

“We have a passion for community involvement and are committed to community service,” Patrick said. “We want to be a good business partner to Cottage Grove.”

Repeat customers are beginning to return, Mai said, and steadily business is picking up. Through Jan. 15, customers can take advantage of a 20 percent off discount.

The couple said other seasonal discounts are to be expected.

“This is a wonderful city,” Mai said. “The area is good. I love it here.”

While the store is currently open, a formal ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for noon, Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Bella Nails Salon & Spa is located at 8459 East Point Douglas Road.