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A local ray of sunshine

On April 25, 2013

Sun Time Salon is a local, family-owned business, which has been in the area for seven years.Sun Time was started when Pamela Montgomery decided she wanted a hair salon of her own.While being in the hair industry, Montgomery was not pleased with her previous place of business and wanted something different. Montgomery said she wanted a salon where her clients were excited to come and happy to be.“I wanted a place that was clean and well taken care of, and what’s a better idea than to start my own salon,” Montgomery said.Montgomery’s husband, George Montgomery, has been in the tanning industry for many years. Montgomery first worked and sold videos and game equipment to stores and started up a video store business.George Montgomery said tanning beds were put in video stores as an added feature when video stores first came about.“People would visit the video stores to purchase movies and tan also,” Montgomery said.Once the tanning industry grew, it was large enough to survive on its own. That is when tanning salons first came about.Most video storeowners have closed their doors, but tanning salons are becoming a fast-growing industry.Allison Owens, manager of Sun Time and daughter of the owners, said tanning used to be an add-on to buying movies.“When someone went to purchase a game or movie from the video store, they just tanned while they were there,” Owens said. “Now, tanning salons are all across the nation and Red Box Kiosks are placed outside of them; the industries kind of switched places with one another.According to IbisWorld, the indoor tanning industry is a $5 billion industry in the U.S.Research shows that 28 million Americans go to 19,000 different salons every year.When the Montgomery’s first got the idea for a salon, George Montgomery raised awareness that the hair industry did not bring in much revenue, but that having a tanning salon would help bring money into the salon.The plans turned into a bare building, and a bare building turned into a business.“I designed everything myself, and although everything didn’t work out the way I wanted, it is pretty close,” Montgomery said.On one side, there is a hair salon with six hair stations and a nail salon with two nail stations. On the opposite side sits 19 tanning beds and two massage and facial rooms.“When we first started, the salon was much smaller until about two years into the business when we began expansion,” Owens said. “Basically, when we first started into creating a business, my dad had many friends in the tanning industry and one allowed us to become a licensee of his company, SunTime, which allowed us to use the name, logo and get training from his salons to bring into ours for one set price, so that’s what we did.”Owens said she trained at her father’s tanning salon to learn the basics and how to run a tanning business before she began running her own.Sun Time Tanning, as a licensee of another company, was able to create its own ideas and use its own tactics, rules and regulations while still using the logo and training from the licensed Sun Time business.Now, Sun Time Tanning has two locations in Huntington and Charleston.“We decided to expand to another location to increase revenue, and also, Charleston was a good place because of its demographics and number of tanning salons in the area,” Pamela Montgomery said. “It has done great ever since we opened the Charleston salon about four years ago.”There have been ideas to further expand Sun Time, but it has been nothing more than an idea.Sun Time has now been open for almost seven years, and has served West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky residents who pass through the salons every year.Today, Sun Time has five different types of UV tanning beds and a sunless alternative called Mystic Spray Tan. It offers nail services, hair services, facial services and massage therapy in addition to tanning services. “The best part about having a family owned business is not only being able to make your own work schedule, but you can do things how you want them to be and it allows you to be with your family and work as well,” Owens said. “The only bad to having a family owned business is separating family conversations from work conversations. It all kind of ties into one wherever we are. Sun Time is a blessing to our family and it has given us a great life and great fortune along the way.”Owens said whatever the skill or task, it is always a learning experience having her own business.“Not everything will go the way you want it to and many things will aggravate you, but you learn that there is always a way to fix the problems, and its nice to know you have the ability to fix whatever you want and whatever you need, because it is your business,” Montgomery said.Haylee Roberts can be contacted at 

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