VALDOSTA – Nail art is not just an aesthetic practice; it is a time for women and men to escape their hectic lives for just a few moments and focus on themselves.

No one understands that better than Christopher Vu, owner of Nails by Chris. His shops have always been a fan favorite in the area and with his expertly trained staff, it's easy to see why.

“I want to put effort into taking care of the customer,” Vu said. “They work hard all week long and for some people, this is all the time they have to themselves.”

While Vu looks for employees with appropriate cosmetological skills, he goes out of his way to find those who also excel in customer service. He has between 45-50 employees, many of whom have been with him since he first opened his doors 13 years ago.

“I believe in taking care of my customers and customer service is very important,” Vu said. “When customers step in the door, we make sure they're well taken care of the way I want them to be.”

Prior to opening his own locations, Vu was a nail technician in another shop and, while he may now be an owner, he still does nails himself and has a dedicated client base with some who have followed him for more than 20 years.

Vu attended school in Atlanta for cosmetology but felt Atlanta already had enough nail shops, so he came to Valdosta for a change of scenery.

He opened his first two locations in Valdosta and another in Thomasville. All three shops recently received a makeover with everything inside the locations being completely updated.

“In business, you have to update,” Vu said. “I want my shop to stand out.”

Keeping his shops updated isn't the only way Vu keeps up with the ever-evolving times; he makes sure all of his technicians are up with current trends.

“When I first started out, you had to just use a file by hand. You didn't have a machine,” Vu said. “You also just had polish; no gel or dipping.”

The “dipping” is a trend that Vu says is currently popular in his shops. This process involves brushing a thin layer of glue on the nail and dipping it into a colored powder. The process is less damaging to the nail than acrylic and is popular as anyone of any age can have it done.

Other services offered include different types of pedicures, acrylic nails, ombre, mood-changing color, glow in the dark powder and waxing.

“I love taking care of people and will do it as long as I can,” Vu said.

Nails by Chris has three locations: 1733 Gornto Road and 3310 Inner Perimeter Road, both in Valdosta, and 13781 Highway 19 S. in Thomasville. Business hours are 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 

Desiree Carver is a reporter at the Valdosta Daily Times. She can be reached at (229) 244-3400 ext. 1215.

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