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Tanning salon an Oasis in the city

MASON CITY – When Cindy Graves decided she wanted to open a tanning salon, she looked at some existing salons in North Iowa with the idea of maybe buying one.

But she decided she’d be better off starting her own, with the latest and greatest in tanning equipment.

So now she’s poised to open Oasis Tan Inc., 502 S. Federal Ave. The tanning beds are all “top of the line,” she said. “Better than any in town.’’

There are 10 beds and one Mystic Spray tanning machine that will appeal to those who are concerned about damage from ultraviolet light.

Users of the Mystic Spray machine select the color of tan they want, pop the cartridge into the machine and follow voice commands on where to stand while the sprayer moves up and down.

“It puts a mist of tanning solution on you. There isn’t one like ours in North Iowa,” Graves said, noting that the machine even has a built-in drier that helps prevent users from accidentally wiping off some of the tanning solution.

“I think this will be the most popular for people who are concerned about ultraviolet light,” Graves said.

Graves, a former nurse and dental assistant, said she wanted her own business so she could be her own boss. The tanning business “seems like a real fun business to be involved with,” she said.

While there are a few businesses in Mason City that have tanning beds, there are only two other tanning salons, neither of which is locally owned, Graves said. “Personally, I think you do a little better with customers when you’re the owner. You care more about the business.”

For those who want more permanent skin coloring, there is a tattoo shop just next door to the south, called Oasis Tattoo.

Graves has been taking applications for help and planned to hire two people for the tanning salon. “I’ll be working most of the hours,” she said.

Asked about dangers of tanning , she said she promotes moderation. Someone out in the sun quite a bit in the summer without protection is more likely to develop skin cancer than someone who builds a base tan using tanning beds, she said. “Tanning beds give controlled exposure, while being out in the sun is more uncontrolled. You don’t know how much you’re getting.”

Graves said she knows people who have ruined their honeymoon by getting too much sun the first day.

Hours at Oasis Tan will be 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is 424-5110.

Prices for tanning packages had not been finalized, but will be a little less than competitors charge, Graves said. There will be a discount for those who pay via electronic fund transfer.

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