Photos by Chris Owen
Interview by Andy Blumberg
Business name: At The Beach
Co-owner: Andrew Crawford
What the hell: Tanning salon (one of the Northwest’s biggest)
Location: Salem, Oregon
Year purchased: 2000
Size: Twenty beds, 3,000 square feet
Hours of operations: Monday-Saturday 7:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Crawford, how’d you get turned on to this “hot” investment tip?
Jake’s (Price) father, Craig, was reading the paper and saw that there was a tanning salon up for sale. We each had a little bit of money set aside for an investment, and it sounded like it would not only be lucrative, but a lot of fun-to elaborate a little more, basically, there are five kids who own it-We all kinda work there in the summertime, when we’re not up at Mt. Hood snowboarding.
Are you sure this doesn’t have a connection to your alias of “The Dark Horse”?
(Laughing) I like to consider myself the silent partner. I, uh, lie back in the weeds and observe the operation.
Any other nicknames because of this deal?
Yeah, Todd Richards came up with a good one, “Tandrew.” We have nicknames for the salon, and one of the best ones I thought was “Ride The Lightning.”
What’s the cost for an hour of tanning?
First of all, twenty minutes is the maximum. But for one tan, it’s six dollars on a basic bed. We have three different levels of beds, the next is called the Pro Sun, and that will tan you a little bit quicker; and the new, state-of-the-art bed is called the Ultra Bronze. It cuts out all the UV rays in the lights. You can’t get burned in this particular machine, and that costs 30 dollars a session.
What’s wrong with the sun? Do you have something against it?
It has too many UV rays, and uh, I kind of get a hint where this question’s going, so let’s talk about that urban myth of tanning machines being bad for you. It’s actually the complete opposite. Let’s take a very white-complected individual like myself-I don’t do well in the sun …
How long does it take you to burn?
Approximately four-and-a-half minutes.
Can you set the tanner for various colors of orange?
(Laughing) No, you can’t do that. What you can do is apply different lotions. Lotions are a big key to tanning-a lot of people don’t realize that the more lubricated the surface is, the better you’re gonna tan.
Are any other services offered? Waxing? Colonics?
We don’t offer those services, what we do offer is a wide array and assortment of tanning oils and feel-good products.
Why aren’t those girls pictured in bikinis? Did you opt to make this sort of tasteful?
Well, we wanted to make it tasteful, but also there’s the unknown fact that most people tan naked. And I just figured that they probably couldn’t get naked for these photos.
The naked truth-have you taken advantage of your investment?
I’ve not taken full advantage, I’ve tested out a few different products when they come in to make sure that everything works well … not only am I the president, I’m also a client.
Take us through a normal day at the “office” for you.
I live two blocks from there in the summer. So usually I ride my bike or skateboard-if I really want to look tough or cool, I’ll drive the Camaro and park it right out front … get a cup of coffee and a bagel at Paradise Cove. For the most part, I’m like the maà¥tre d’ at an Italian restaurant, just hang back in the corner. If I think we need another palm tree or neon sign, I’ll kind of regulate where that goes; mingle with the clients, make sure everybody’s okay.
Are you laughing all the way to the bank? How’s this paid out so far?
Within the initial investment, we probably had a return within six months to a year.