When Carol Simbler envisioned opening a business, she wanted to create an escape for the women of the West Side. Tropical Oasis, a full service nail salon located at 5826 W. Division, opened on Nov. 15, 2009.

Previously working for the city of Chicago as an executive assistant for 17 years before being laid off in December 2008, Simbler decided she wanted to try opening a business as opposed to pursuing another office job. She attended nail school and brought her newly acquired skills back to her community.

A graduate of Austin High School, she has lived in the neighborhood most of her life and says she chose this location not only because it was close to home, but she felt there was also a need for it.

“When I looked up and down the street, I noticed there wasn’t another nail salon in the area. There are some on North Avenue and Chicago Avenue, but none in this area.”

The salon takes pride in practicing sanitation standards set by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration as well as the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“Not all nail salons practice good sanitation procedures,” Simbler explains, “but we do because we are concerned about our clients’ health, about the environment and about our own well being.”

Each of the staff members is licensed and knowledgeable about the products and procedures used in the spa.

Simbler admits that opening in November may not have been the best time to launch a nail shop, but it was right for her.

“I think once the weather gets nice and people come out of hibernation, business will pick up.”

Simbler adds that even now she has steady clients and enjoys a consistent flow of business due to the spa location’s heavy foot traffic.

“There is a church across the street and a funeral home next door. I have had women come into the spa after leaving those places. And it’s just great that it’s within walking distance.”

Finisha O’Quinn is a freelance writer covering Austin’s business community. The Enterprize Zone is a regular feature in Austin Weekly News.