By Shereen Siewert

The Wausau area will soon be home to a new Sola Salon Studios, a franchise that offers fully equipped salon spaces for stylists and other beauty professionals to rent.

Owner Dan Hoeck said the Sola “suite concept” model offers stylists the freedom of owning their own business without taking on the risk and expense that can come from opening a traditional salon.

Hoeck opened the first Sola locations in Wisconsin in 2012 in the Fox Valley area. He since opened a second location in Appleton, three in Green Bay, one in Oshkosh and five in Ohio.

Other Wisconsin locations soon followed, Hoeck said, but “I had the privilege of being the first.”

Over the past five years, Hoeck said he has been contacted multiple times by people asking him to consider opening a location in the Wausau area. Finding the perfect spot took some time but the new location, adjacent to the Barnes and Noble store, has plenty of parking, easy access and exceptional visibility.

“I looked at many, many different locations but this struck me as being the perfect spot,” Hoeck said.

The Rib Mountain location will include 31 high-end, light filled and professionally finished spaces. Each beauty professional will have an independent, soundproofed studio equipped with a shampoo sink and chair, styling chair and cabinets and will have 24/7 secure access to their space.

Anyone within the beauty community is welcome, from lash artists to massage therapists, makeup artists, traditional stylists and more, Hoeck said. Some locations even have clothing boutiques – but all are tied to the beauty industry in some way.

“What we really do is offer freedom,” Hoeck said. “This is a great way for people to own their own business without a huge capital outlay. And whether they want to have traditional hours or serve their clients at midnight or 6 a.m., it’s completely at their discretion. They run their businesses the way they see fit.”

Hoeck said the industry was already shifting toward the suite concept, in part because more people want to run their own business. But the COVID-19 pandemic amplified safety precautions. Now, more people are gravitating toward a smaller studio-style experience because they feel more comfortable and relaxed knowing that it’s just the stylist and client in the space, Hoeck said.

After 35 years in the retail, management and multi-family housing industries, Hoeck said he understands the value in owning your own business, but also recognizes the need for serving the customers who rent his spaces. He helps with startup paperwork, will offer to help file LLC documents, sellers permits and more, taking the the stress out of the startup process.

“It comes down to one word and that’s empowerment,” Hoeck said. “You just bring your clients.”

Sola Salon Studios, based in Colorado, opened its first location in 2004. Today, there are more than 540 locations across the U.S., Canada and in Brazil. The Rib Mountain location is projected to open April 1.

Dan Hoeck, owner of Sola Salon Studios in Rib Mountain. Contributed photo

Studio leases are now available. For leasing info or a private tour, visit the Oshkosh Sola Salon website or contact Dan at (920) 366-7652.