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Posted on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

New South University salon gives U-M campus easy access to nail services

By Angela Smith

When Connie Howard’s daughters went away to school from Bloomfield Hills to the University of Michigan, there was one commodity that they noticed was missing from the campus - a nail salon. Sorority girls were sharing taxis to go to a place 5 miles away to get their nails done, they told Howard. And this gave her an idea.


Connie Howard, owner of Polished, opened her nail salon last week.

Angela Smith | For

Howard said she had been considering her own business. With nine years of experience managing a successful doctor’s office in Troy, she was ready for a change. The combination of timing and need felt right to Howard, and last week she opened Polished at 1115 S. University in Ann Arbor.

Polished is an 830-square-foot nail salon with services priced to attract students, faculty and Ann Arbor locals. With $15 manicures, $25 pedicures and a $35 combo, the salon's prices are comparable to other off-campus nail salons.

Polished has five manicure stations, four pedicure stations and a state-of-the-art ventilation system that Howard says is unlike any other used in the area. The system adds to the industrial look of the salon, and was recommended by the city, she said.

Howard reports that the first week in business was a good one. “We’re really catering to a need.” Polished employs five nail techs and still is hiring. Howard says she needs to be picky in her hiring because the students who have been coming in are particular about their nails.

Two clients waiting for services at Polished on Friday afternoon were Rebecca Tober and Stacy Wood, the owners of the only waxing salon on campus, The Wax Loft.

Tober and Wood opened The Wax Loft 4 years ago, and the duo reports a steady growth in business ever since. They are excited to have Polished on the scene, and the business owners are planning to partner to promote services from both businesses for their clients.

Angela Smith is a freelance reporter for


Deborah Stevens

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Congratulations, Ms. Howard, and best wishes for success!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

Interesting how a story about a new waffle shop only three days ago generated MANY comments, but; - none complaining about reporting on a new business - no snarky comments about helping the poor (they like waffles too, don't they?) - nobody pointed out how "I never ate at a fancy waffle shop when I was in school" - no yokels spewing jealous vitriol at the business's potential clientele In fact, there was nary a negative comment! Lots of expanding waistlines and bad nails on this board, I'll wager.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

Can't imagine going to college without access to a nail salon..............


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Paula, I think we all know how the economy is going in this little island of Michigan. But it still isn't news.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

I too am surprised at the mocking and demeaning comments made. Here we have a successful LOCAL business providing JOBS for the LOCAL community. Isn't this what most people wuld think of as a POSITIVE for the area. All of a sudden, I feel the need for some bright ed toenails. I would encourage anyone else who believes in supporting local businesses, and not tearing them done, to try this store. And no, I do not know the owner. And I never heard of the salon until I read this article.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Things change. Some students, and "grown ups", are lucky to have disposable income. And if they want to support a new local business - more power to them. True - back in the "old days" nail salons weren't nearly as popular, and who knew what a Brazilian wax was??, but the times they are a changing. I hope Connie's shop is successful.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

When i was in school, i did not get money for nails, waxing, massages or highlighting/coloring hair. I did not do any of that stuff regularly until my late 30s.

An Arborigine

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

To do list of the entitled: Shop for cute outfit and shoes Mani/Pedi Spa for hair and massage Bikini Wax Get ready Clubbin'!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.

A story about a NEW business is news. I'm glad to see a news story with a WCSO mug shot.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

A whole lot of whining about how people spend their disposable income! Smacks a little of jealousy. Whether it's a couple drinks at a bar or a manicure, people can and will spend their money on things they enjoy rather than "giving it to the poor" (and sometimes, they do both). If there isn't an alternative on campus, it is filling a niche/need in the market. AND, campus is also home to graduate students and young professionals who might like something like this nearby.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

When I was a college student, my friends and I did each other's nails if we really wanted a manicure. And I owned a razor for, ahem, other needs. Such luxuries were not in my budget. I saved the little money I had to go to the bar on the weekend!

Paula Gardner

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Surprised to see all of these comments here about the news value. We've been doing "retail reports" for a long time, and tend to run a couple a week on average. We don't hit every new business, but do believe that they offer an indicator of business activity in a region - and the owners' strategies can tell us something about how this market is perceived. Plus, on a lighter note, who knew there was a shortage of nail salons on campus. You can tell by my nails that I've never needed to find one! Oh, and Chase, we don't sample when we write. Food critics (at least here) have to submit receipts.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

I don't know. To me, a martini tastes a lot like nail polish, so it wouldn't change my reaction. I think it's great any time someone wants to put his or her dreams on the line and open a store. The economy is driven by people who understand the needs and desires of their communities. If people with money simply stuff it into their mattresses, we see less employment.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Interesting reaction! I wonder how the comments would have been different had we substituted "martini bar" in the headline for the nail salon.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:07 p.m.

You shouldn't be surprised. The name "Bloomfield Hills" aroused the ire of those who have dedicated their lives to sniffing out privilege and denouncing it. You could experiment with this. Try reporting on a new pizza joint from someone who grew up "near Detroit," and the truffle-hunters would buzz in appreciation. If you said "in Grosse Pointe" instead, you'd see more comments like the ones here.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

I wonder if Connie can do something about this nasty fungus toe thing I got going on? I'll wait 'till the weather gets better and put on my Birkies and Borat swimsuit and stop by.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

Hilarious...can't stop laughing....

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

"We're really catering to a need." Oh, stop it. It's not a need. It's a luxury.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

For a vast majority of females aged 15-45, pedicures are a welcome and affordable luxury. Some of the more entitled of these women may consider it a need. Be it a need or luxury, pedicures are hugely popular and this woman is going to be rich.

An Arborigine

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

I am appalled that these sorority sisters don't have access to the pampering they depend on! This gives me a brilliant idea for a companion business, "Augmentations R Us"!

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

News? Is this like a food critic that gets a free meal to do a write up? I think that you should post a photo of your nails. We'll pass on asking for evidence of waxing.

Jessica Webster

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Food critics do not receive free meals from restaurants when writing reviews.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

And this is NEWS?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

I have three daughters, including one here on campus. This is a brilliant idea... and very much newsworthy as it's a new business that ISN'T just another national chain taking over a store-front!


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Maybe they can spend their money how they want to considering it is theirs and they did earn it.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

Maybe they should spend their money helping the poor or something instead of getting their nails done. Just a thought.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

You can't be the "leaders and the best" if you aren't waxed and polished, can you?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

OK, Ann needs a new section. "New Businesses". This would belong there, not in the News section. It really doesn't seem professional to pepper the hard(???) news section with advertisements for new businesses. I agree with EyeHeartA2 also on this one.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor is a small town, and like any small town, one of the biggest news items is new stores. Most of what I look for on is news on new stores opening. I'm not sure it needs it's own section.

just a voice

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

is this another case of ann arbor dot com workers voting down comments ?


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Have you looked at an actual newspaper any time in the past three decades? This is par for the course.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

"When Connie Howard's daughters went away to school from Bloomfield Hills to the University of Michigan, there was one commodity that they noticed was missing from the campus - a nail salon. Sorority girls were sharing taxis to go to a place 5 miles away to get their nails done" I just threw up a little in my mouth.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

@Peter; Agreed. Next time I'm at 427, I'll buy you a beer.


Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

I was concerned about paying for my books and tuition....not getting my nails done. Things have changed I guess. Of course, I was from a little town South of Ann Arbor, not Bloomfield Hills.

An Arborigine

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

OMG Becky!

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Like, that is so far, like, to go to get my nails done!

Peter Baker

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

See, there are things we agree on.