LISTOWEL – ‘You only live once’ is the motto that new business owner Amanda Annis lives by. She took that saying literally after being diagnosed with cervical and endometrial cancer in 2020 and ending the long road of recovery in June 2021 with a full hysterectomy.
“After I ended up having my surgery to have my cancer removed, I’ve lived by that motto. You only live once, stop beating around the bush and just live your life because you just never know when your last day is.”
She bought the tanning portion of dynafit University from Chris Kurz, the owner, after hearing that the gym was moving locations. She says that it’s been a tough journey to get where she is.
“I’ve really struggled to get to commercial space in Listowel. I’ve been trying since November, so finally it was like ‘I want to go, I want to get this going. I’ve got to start somewhere.’ So that’s why we’re starting here and eventually, down the road, then we’ll end up getting a commercial space.”
After some renovations done by her husband and father, and some clever planning, she managed to fit a whole studio, including four rooms, laundry, a bathroom, and a greeting space, all in her garage.
“It was honestly difficult through the municipality. It took a lot. There was a lot that they required to respect the neighbourhood and ensure that the business wouldn’t affect their lives per se – parking. Thank goodness we have amazing neighbours. idesign [Kitchen Studio], which is a block away, has allowed us to use their parking space, as well, which has been a blessing. And the health unit, too. That was a big thing as well. But we’ve passed all our inspections this past week, and we’re good to go now.”
Aside from the municipality, she also had struggles with getting the capital to invest in a new business. As she pointed out, in order to get a business loan to purchase the equipment, she needed to provide six months to a year’s worth of experience. She needed the business loan to be able to get that experience.
“My husband and I had some funds put away, but I’m going to be honest with you, if it weren’t for my parents, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. It was very difficult, as much as everyone says, you know, the government’s there to help start small businesses. And, you know, I couldn’t get a business loan anywhere... I wrote up a business plan, everything. I had all my projections. I had all of my i’s dotted and t’s crossed. It was so difficult. I lucked out by having the support from my parents. But if it weren’t for them, this would have never happened.”
Annis is an accountant and will continue to be an accountant as her day job. “I’m not giving up my career,” she said. “I’m going to continue with my career but I’m very passionate about all the services that I offer. I just want to inspire others to fulfill their dreams and to do things for themselves. Because, especially with COVID, people just need to do more for themselves. I’m very flexible and open to schedules, making schedules work. Even though I have set hours, if someone needs a service outside of those hours, I’m here to help. I just want to make sure everyone is taking care of themselves.”
Yolo Tanning and Beauty Co. offers “lash extensions, UV tanning beds, cocoon wellness pods, organic eco-spray tanning, and hot stone massage.” In the future, she hopes to offer facials and dermaplaning as well. “This is just this is just a steppingstone,” she says. “Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is where I’ve decided to start.”
Yolo Tanning is located at 125 Armstrong St. W. in Listowel; for more information visit www.yolotanningandbeauty.com, or call or text 519-589-2396 directly.
Connor Luczka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner