Minh Le is a second-generation nail technician who opened his first salon in January in Longview to bring his industry knowledge to an area where his expertise would be appreciated.
“Longview seems like a beauty town,” said the Amboy resident. “It seems like everyone gets their hair and nails done in this town.”
Apex Nails and Spa is the 5,000-square-foot building with expansive windows off Washington Way near The Office 842. Inside the white, brightly lit salon is a modern, minimalistic setting for walk-ins, standing appointments and groups to receive a day of pampering, Minh said.
“We are trying to keep it modern, but minimal,” Minh, 31, said.
The salon’s nine employees offer manicures, pedicures, waxing and haircuts. The building houses 20 pedicure chairs and 18 manicure tables, but are spaced in a way where customers “never feel super crowded,” Minh said.
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Private pedicure rooms are available for several guests, and those who receive services longer than an hour can receive a complimentary 6-ounce glass of wine or 8-ounce beer.
Waxing options offered at the salon include services for noses, ears, lips, chins, brows, toes, feet and backs.
Customers can opt for a 30-minute, 45-minute or hour-long pedicures, which range from $40 to $60. A classic manicure starts at $30, while gel and acrylic manicures cost more.
Apex Nails and Spa offers alternatives to acrylic manicures, a popular way to add artificial extensions to real nails. The alternatives can look more natural because they are thinner and can cause less damage to natural nails, Minh said. He said after people take off acrylic nails, natural nails often feel thin.
During Gel-X manicures, technicians paint extensions with a gel that is hardened under ultraviolet light.
During dip powder manicures, technicians cover nails in a clear liquid and dip them into a colored powder several times.
Minh said dip powder manicures are safer for people who are allergic to the monomer of acrylic nails. Apex’s website says dip powder can add strength and length to nails.
Minh said the most popular manicure style is a tapered square tip, known as ballerina-slipper- or coffin-shaped nails.
‘Shoot to be the best’
The salon is unique to the area, Minh said, because of its commitment to wellness.
Unlike other salons, Minh said the strong, toxic smell of nail polish is minimized by a ducted exhaust fan that “continually takes chemicals out of the air” inside the building. The ducts are located on manicure tables.
The salon also carries hundreds of colors in nail polish lines like The Gel Bottle, which is a vegan and cruelty-free brand known to be long lasting and chip resistant, Minh said.
Minh said his father owns a nail salon in Maryland and his mother owns a salon in Beaverton, Oregon.
Minh said he is following in his family’s footsteps and aiming to be at the top of the industry. Like the apex of a nail — the rounded or pointed tip — Minh is reaching for the peak of success.
“I always want to shoot to be the best in town, and within the nail world,” he said.
Talking Business is a series featuring local new or expanded businesses and prints every Tuesday. The series was suspended during the pandemic and recently restarted.
Contact Daily News reporter Hayley Day at 360-577-2541 or [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.