Aqua Salon has taken top honors as the $50,000 Grand Prize winner of Intuit’s Love a Local Business grant competition.
The Chicago, Illinois-based salon became a Grand Prize finalist after winning a $25,000 hiring grant last November.
At the time, owner Noel Buican was excited to use the much-appreciated funds to better serve her loyal clients by expanding Aqua’s roster of talented stylists.
For Buican, however, lady luck has struck again. And with the new grant prize from Intuit, 2012 will bestow yet another growth opportunity for the trendy hair and beauty salon in the Edgebrook community of Chicago.
Two Deliveries in One Week
“It’s amazing, amazing news. It doesn’t get any better than this,” Buican said in response to learning Aqua had been selected by Intuit’s judges, following a lengthy review process that sought to find a winner that “embodies the characteristics of a small business that is most loved by its customers, vendors, employees, or local community.”
But an even bigger delivery this week came in the form of the birth of Buican’s second child, a healthy baby boy named Luc.
With both a family and a business growing fast in this new year, Buican says the grant money couldn’t come at a better time.
“It’s been a tough five years,” the small business owner admits, but Aqua managed to weather the economic headwinds and is now stronger than ever.
Aqua Keeps Giving Back
Judging by the glowing praise Aqua’s clients bestow upon their favorite salon, Buican’s commitment to customer satisfaction, no matter what the cost, is yielding lasting rewards.
“I think a lot of business owners look for the cheapest or easiest ways to satisfy customers or get them to stop complaining,” she says, “but I’ve learned that giving your all to customers — whatever it costs us — pays back.”
As for her company’s immediate goals, Buican has no higher priority than to continue growing her staff while finding new ways to give back to the community.
“We’re going to keep hiring more associates to join our program,” Buican says, emphasizing that Aqua recently created a contest for clients to nominate their favorite community causes. The salon will send a generous donation to the eventual winner.
Feel The Love
Will your business take top honors next month and take home $25,000? If you haven’t already, click here to nominate your business for a chance to win the next Love a Local Business hiring grant from Intuit.