Courean Napolitano, owner of Vixen Day Spa & Boutique, was selected as the Magnolia Chamber’s Business Person of the Year. She was honored at a dinner on Feb. 25.
Napolitano opened Vixen 11 years ago after doing skin-care therapy in other salons. At her store (3209 W. McGraw St.), she married that passion with another: fashion. It evolved in two years, starting with only 20 items of clothing that would fly off the shelves. After two years, she expanded into the storefront next door and now offers more treatment rooms and about 1,800 articles of clothing. Clothing sales are about two-thirds of the business.
“I realized...my purpose in life is to help people look and feel good about themselves,” she said. “I can do that through skin care one person at a time, or I can fill the store full of clothing.”
Napolitano and her staff are unique, she said, because they’ll tell someone if something doesn’t look good or make them see themselves in a different light because, “as women, we all want to rip on ourselves,” she said.
Over 11 years of business, Napolitano has seen it all. Business rocketed at first, but like with many others, it took a turn for the worse with the economy. She bought “smarter,” she said, had fewer employees and worked six days a week to stay open. Now things have started to come back.
Vixen offers manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and massage. It also has a physician who performs Botox and filler procedures. They focus on scientific, clinical skin care, Napolitano said.
Reward for hard work
Napolitano found out she won the Business Person of the Year award when a few friends from the chamber came by her store and told her. “I go, ‘No kidding,’” she said.
When she told her family and staff, they said, “‘Oh, girl, you so deserve that,’” Napolitano said.
Napolitano was in the running last year, too, but she had nominated someone else and voted for them. It turned out she missed that award by only a vote or two.
People nominated for the award have a positive impact on the community, said new Magnolia Chamber president Heather Ussery. This was a chance to recognize Napolitano for all of her hard work over the years, she said: “She’s given a lot back to her community.”
Napolitano was presented with a plaque at a dinner in her honor at Mondello Ristorante (2425 33rd Ave. W., No. 3).
Napolitano brings a low of “great, new, fresh ideas,” Ussery said, noting she has also been instrumental in events over the years: “She works hard, and she deserves it this year.”
Anyone on the chamber can nominate someone for the award. In Napolitano’s case, a few different people nominated her, Ussery said.
Napolitano said she has a difficult time “tooting my own horn,” so it’s nice to be recognized by the community. Her vision for the community is all she talks about.
“What I want are flowers and for this neighborhood to look like the beautiful place that it represents,” Napolitano said.
When Napolitano first started getting involved with the chamber, she realized the chamber wasn’t bringing in any money. So she came up with the wine walk, which is now a strong fundraiser in the Magnolia community.
Being the mastermind behind the wine walk and other community events like the now-defunct Girls Night Out, probably earned her the nomination, Napolitano guessed.
“My love is for my community, and it’s neat to have that recognized and acknowledged,” she said.
Her vision for the community continues to grow. She plans to use the crowd-funding website Go Fund Me to help with beautification. She wants Magnolia’s downtown retail core to put “on some lipstick and a new dress and attract some suitors.
“I’d like to see all of the storefronts filled, and I’d like to see flowers all up and down this corridor,” she said. “So that when you pull in here, you say, ‘Oh, this is some place that I want to linger, park my car and walk around.’”
Not everyone agrees with Napolitano’s ideas for Magnolia, though. “There’s a small fraction that just loves to fight me,” she said. “At times, it has been very, very frustrating and a lot of tears.”
But she believes in her ideas, and others do, too. “I owe it to the people that support me,” she said.
So Napolitano plans to continue dedicating her time to the community and its beautification.
She also plans to expand with another storefront in South Lake Union. She wants to be a resource for people in a dense area to get ready for a date or an event.
At the Magnolia location and the future location, she has started doing halftime and half-price skin treatments. She envisions the Vixen stores being a pit stop where women can go for a short treatment, a manicure and maybe a new outfit. She also would like to see people incorporate short treatments into their monthly wellness program.
“That’s the direction that I need to be focusing on, [instead of] these huge, labor-intensive services,” she said.
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