By Carla Calhoun
Bratenahl Place Condominiums, located on secluded, picturesque lakefront property, is the home of The Nail Nook.
The posh nail salon is elegantly decorated with attractive pictures and wall hangings, shelves of colorful nail polishes, and adornments for your hands and feet. The patrons relax in plush and comfortable massage chairs while enjoying professional pedicures and manicures.
The Cleveland Observer had the opportunity to chat with the visionary proprietor, CeCe Florence.
Reporter: CeCe please tell our readers a little about you?
CeCe: I have been licensed for 32 years. I have always had a passion for what I do and now I am really enjoying what I do. I grew up in Cleveland Heights and graduated from (Cleveland) Heights High school.
Reporter: When did you first know that you wanted to be in this profession?
CeCe: As a young girl growing up, I always had a passion for nails. I often went to the store with my parents and went straight to the nail polish. I would always ask my mother’s friends about polishing their nails. Nail polishing is an art, and I always enjoyed coloring as a child, which is therapeutic for me.
Reporter: How long has your business been in the refined Bratenahl Place Condominiums, and why did you choose this location?
CeCe: The Nail Nook has been here for three years, and its location crossed me by accident. I worked for 10 years in the hair salon next door. The lady that owned this location had been here for 47 years, and due to poor health, she needed to sell the business. I had a vision to gut the old place and turn it into a swanky nail boutique. “I did it! Rebuilt it and made it my own!”
Reporter: How has the pandemic of COVID-19 affected your business?
CeCe: When the pandemic happened our business and this occupation was shut down for three months. I had only been in business for one year. I knew that I could not get back lost revenue, but I could surely gain the confidence of my clients. So, what I did to stay afloat, and to keep my clients safe is, I only see one person at a time, mask, sanitize after each client, and keep my door locked.
Reporter: What impact do you think your business has on this area and surrounding communities?
CeCe: There are not a lot of nail businesses around here; we are like a desert. I do not have any competition. I have many older clients from the condominiums. Bratenahl does not emphasize retail and they are careful with who enters the property. (As you enter the grounds of the condominiums there is a guard booth with a gate. The guard will inquire about who you are seeing and ask your name before allowing you to enter).
Reporter: Are there any other businesses located here?
CeCe: Yes, there is a massage studio, a hair salon and a restaurant which are all open to the public.
Reporter: What’s next for CeCe and what advice do you have for someone going into this profession?
CeCe: Those are really good questions! I am working on growing my business, and slowly building a staff. I would like to introduce a makeup artist, which includes a lash technician.
The advice I have is, treat the profession as a 9-to-5. Your customer always comes first, because without your clients there is no you. Have good work ethics. Be loyal to your clients and they will be loyal to you.
Reporter: Is there anything you would like to share with the readers?
CeCe: A lot of people do not see my business as they see other professionals. We are doing more than just applying polish, we are preventative.
Reporter: Preventative, what do you mean by that?
CeCe: As far as health needs, we can help prevent ingrown toenails which is very painful. We make sure that you are not experiencing any pain, so we work to help keep your feet in good shape. We provide therapeutic foot and hand massage during your nail treatment, which is relaxing and helps relieves stress. I like to refer to myself as the “Nail Doctor.”
Reporter: CeCe shared that often the winter months in Cleveland are slow and can be financially challenging for her business.
My experience of therapeutic pedicure with CeCe was most enjoyable. Not only did my feet and legs feel great and energized, but I walked away with a beautiful pedicure. I plan to continue to visit The Nail Nook during Cleveland’s frigid winter months. Due to the emphasis on self-care, mental and emotional health, pedicures, and manicures are an affordable form of healing, relaxation, and stress relief.
We all deserve to be pampered!
The Nail Nook is located at 1 Bratenahl Place, Building 1, Bratenahl, OH 44108. Hours of operation are: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (216) 406-6665 to make an appointment.
Courtesy of The Nail Nook’s Facebook page.