Tuesday, November 20

Village’s new tanning salon sees promising start


L.A. Tanning caters to image-conscious students and Westwood residents

In a city where image is often a key factor of daily life, the
opening of a tanning salon in Westwood Village is a welcome event
in the neighborhood.

The 2-week-old L.A. Tanning Salon on Westwood Boulevard has a
growing list of patrons including both students and residents of
the area.

The absence of other tanning salons in Westwood makes the
business a unique one in the community.

“People are always telling me they’re glad
there’s finally a tanning salon in Westwood Village,”
said George Torbay, the salon’s owner.

Torbay credits the early success of his business to the
appearance-conscious community and the friendly environment of the
salon.

Torbay said he and his staff attempt to create relationships
with customers.

New customers are given a tour of the salon and instructed on
the use of tanning equipment.

All of the machines are new, with one in each of the rooms
lining the hallway making up the main area of the salon.

The salon uses tanning beds and a tanning system allowing the
patron to remain standing during the tanning process.

The most popular machine in the salon is the Mystic Tan ““
the only machine in the salon that does not use ultraviolet
rays.

Instead, the Mystic Tan uses a solution of aloe vera, bronzers
and self-tanners to give customers a one-minute tan that lasts 5 to
7 days.

“It’s very convenient for people on the go,”
Torbay said.

Clients may come in every week to keep a tan while others tan
for special occasions, he said.

Some customers consider the tanning salon a healthier
alternative to the sun’s rays because the Mystic Tan
doesn’t use UV rays.

Customer Thad Smith said he goes to the salon to get a non-UV
tan, avoiding the sun’s adverse effects. Smith became a
client 10 days ago, and has returned for further sessions.

Clients tan in rooms with CD players, enabling them to listen to
either their own music or CDs provided by the salon.

The staff provides a sanitary environment, using hospital-grade
cleaning solution on all equipment and rooms.

Care is also taken to ensure the safety of the customer, with
professionally trained salon staff assessing each customer’s
skin type before they use the machines in order to determine the
correct machine settings, Torbay said.

Customers may have their own preferences for machine settings,
but the staff advises them on which are best for their skin
type.

“You don’t want to have an adverse reaction from
tanning,” Torbay said.

Clients like Smith have been keeping L.A. Tanning Salon busy
since it opened its doors to the public.

Other stores in Westwood Village have been closing down due to
lack of parking and consumer interest but Torbay said he has a
positive view of future business in the area.

“I think Westwood is really beginning to accommodate
residents and students with new businesses,” he said.

Torbay added that he knew a tanning salon in Westwood Village
would be successful because there were none available.

Torbay thought of opening a salon while living on Glenrock
Avenue three years ago. He saved money from his job as a personal
trainer in order to build his business.

Shimon Pagovich and Jimmy Lembo, current staff members and
Torbay’s long-time friends, worked with him on construction
and administration for four months before the salon was opened.

Now that the tanning salon is open, Torbay plans to improve his
business by setting up a validation system for customers who park
in Westwood Village lots.

Meanwhile, Torbay’s premonition that the business would be
successful came true immediately as customers were drawn to the
salon.

“It’s the greatest accomplishment I’ve ever
done,” Torbay said. “Sometimes I have to pinch
myself.”

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