Vikkie Vo wears many hats. She’s a wife and mother of two. She’s a businesswoman employing her husband, Tommy, as well as her brother My, mother Le and occasionally her cousins Jasmine and Wendy. She’s a Vietnamese American.
The owner and manager of Nails by Vikkie, Wahpeton, Vo also has what might be the most popular phone number in the Twin Towns Area. When Daily News visited Vo, she received a steady amount of calls from customers making appointments.
Appointments are mandatory for Nails by Vikkie customers. The salon and spa is following all recommendations for safe, patron-friendly business in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“We have our guards,” Vo said. “We’re wearing our masks. We do require hand washing before coming in for services. You do have to follow the social distancing requirements and keep 6 feet apart from others. We don’t have additional people in the salon. When we started, we had people wait outside before their appointments. We’re disinfecting our spaces and chairs. The safety net measures are in place.”
It’s been two months since Nails by Vikkie reopened as part of North Dakota’s “Smart Restart” program. Nail salons and spas were among the health and beauty facilities forced to temporarily close their doors in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Vo estimates that Nails by Vikkie saw 30 customers when the doors reopened on May 1.
“The first week was crazy busy, but then it slowed down a little bit,” she said. “I was happy to be back to work.”
Overall, Nails by Vikkie has had a slower than usual summer, Vo said. That’s because of several factors: consumers who are having to adjust their spending habits, less activities this year and the fact that business normally tends to calm down in the summer months.
“The most busiest time of year is Christmas. People like to be pretty on Christmas,” Vo said.
When a wedding, prom or even vacation is postponed or cancelled, it doesn’t just affect the hosts and guests, it affects the health and beauty industry. It makes a difference, but Vo is happy that her customers are making their way back.
“We’ve got all our safety measures in place and we are taking appointments,” she said. “You have to call in your appointments. We do not take walk-ins.”
Nails by Vikkie is located at 520 Dakota Ave., Wahpeton. Its hours are 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Appointments can be made by calling 701-642-1151.
In August, Vo will celebrate two years on Dakota Avenue. Her previous salon experience included working in Fargo and Valley City, North Dakota, and she’s worked for bosses including her aunt. Nails by Vikkie has a staff of four employees who’ll see as many as seven clients in a day.
“When we had to close, we didn’t know when we’d be able to open back up,” Vo said. “We were not making any money and we wondered if our customers would be able to come back to us. This affected a lot of people. We’re glad to be able to come back.”
Vo kept busy by looking up grant opportunities. She also was preparing to give birth to her second child.
Owen Vo Nguyen was born May 25, 2020. He has a big sister, 20-month-old Kymmie.
“It’s like starting all over again,” Vo said about motherhood.
Because Nails by Vikkie is a family-staffed business, Vo was able to keep in touch with her employees during the closure and devote more time to communicating with customers. She gave updates through social media between late March and the May 1 reopening.
Working with loved ones was something Vo always wanted for her salon. Most of her family has beauty experience.
Nails by Vikkie offers manicures, pedicures, waxing and eyelash extensions. Vo enjoys tending to her customers and learning a thing or two about them.
“I meet new people every single day,” she said. “They tell me stories. They like to talk about things while we do nails.”
Vo and her family emigrated from their home in Phan Rang, Vietnam, to the United States in March 2006.
“When I came to the airport, it was all white and super cold. I was freezing. We don’t have any snow in Vietnam,” she said.
The immediate family emigrated at once, Vo said. Her grandparents arrived in America in 1992 and they sponsored the family’s later emigration.
“I like both countries, Vietnam and America,” Vo said. “But here, we have better education and better workplaces. Vietnam will always be home, but I’ve had a lot of opportunities here in America.”
A loyal customer base. People who are proud to be “auntie” to her children. Motherhood. Business opportunities. Her marriage. Her family. And a busy phone line. Vo has much to be thankful for. With Nails by Vikkie’s anniversary approaching, she’s taking the opportunity to appreciate what she has.
“It’s a great location. There’s great people here. I love it. I’ve made a lot of good friends,” she said.