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Salon on Second gets new owner, new name

Brittany Gunkel, pictured far right, has taken over ownership of Salon on Second, which she’s renamed Second Avenue Salon and Spa. Pictured with her, from left, are staff members Cindy Nguyen, Sandy Winkels, Cynthia Lien, Chris Wasche, Julie Reiter, Cindy Davis, Julie Mursu and Helene Johnson. Marie Nitke/FOCUS

It was always Brittany Gunkel’s dream to own her own salon.

Raised in a family of hair stylists, from her mom to her aunts to her barber great-grandfather, she caught the stylist bug at an early age. By middle school she had figured out exactly what she wanted to do when she grew up.

Keeping that dream in mind, Gunkel graduated from high school and then earned her degree in business from the University of South Dakota. After that, she went on to cosmetology school at Josef’s in Fargo, N.D.

Money was tight, and there were times when it wasn’t easy.

“I moved out to Fargo with $200 to my name,” Gunkel said in an interview last week. “It was a lot of hard work and a lot of tears, but I’m very determined and stubborn, and I knew what I wanted.”

That perseverance paid off.

This fall, just a few years after finishing cosmetology school, Gunkel’s dream came true. She’s now the proud owner of Second Avenue Salon and Spa in Perham.

Formerly known as Salon on Second, the business was sold to Gunkel by previous owner Sandy Winkels, who remains on staff as a stylist.

Gunkel had been a stylist at the salon for the past year and a half, after moving to town with her husband, Justin Gunkel, a Perham native. The pair has a young daughter, Avery.

“I just walked into the salon with my resume and asked if they were hiring,” Gunkel said of how she got started. “And it was like love at first sight.”

Gunkel said she and Winkels quickly formed a good working relationship. When the opportunity arose to purchase the salon, Gunkel didn’t hesitate.

Under her ownership, the salon will feature all of the same staff as before, plus a new addition, stylist Julie Reiter. Other stylists, in addition to Gunkel and Winkels, include Cynthia Lein and Cindy Davis. Cindy Nguyen will remain as the salon’s nail technician, and Julie Mursu will continue to offer massage. Receptionist Chris Washe will also remain in her position.

“We’re eight women working together, and we all get along very well,” laughed Gunkel. “My husband can’t believe it.”

All the services offered by the salon will also stay the same. Those services include haircuts for adults and children, color, styling, perms, waxing, sugaring and facials, along with various nail and massage offerings.

“We enjoy helping people and making them feel good about themselves,” said Gunkel.

New to the salon is the addition of Helene’s Boutique, run by Helene Johnson. Johnson has filled the back room of the salon with ladies fashions, jewelry and accessories at affordable prices.

Gunkel said she doesn’t plan to change much about the salon right now, other than a little redecorating to make it her own. Down the road, she’d like to add even more services.

“We really have a good thing going,” she said. “In the future, I’d like to offer makeup, air-brushed makeup, reflexology and an esthetician.”

“We want to be known as that really comfortable, casual, family-oriented salon,” she added. “And we want to stay affordable. Everyone deserves to pamper themselves.”

Second Avenue Salon and Spa will be holding a grand opening celebration with food, drinks, prizes and specials on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 4-7 p.m.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Detroit Lakes Tribune in November 2017 after several years of writing and editing at the Perham Focus. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their young son and daughter, and their yellow Lab.

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