James Gartner, co-owner and hair artist director and Adam Swanlund do-owner and director of operations. | submitted photo
Updated: December 7, 2012 6:08AM
WEST DUNDEE — At the close of Bii Hair Salon’s successful first year in business, the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce opened year two by awarding the salon its Small Business of the Year 2012 award.
Bii founders James Gartner and Adam Swanlund, and their staff, were bestowed with the recognition recently during the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards dinner at the Holiday Inn, Elgin. Each year the NKCC board of directors nominates three businesses for each category based upon their participation in the chamber and community as a whole.
“It was an honor and a bit shocking,” said owner Swanlund. “Considering we are in our first year with a full-size salon, our focus was to become profitable. Not only have we been able to turn a profit we have established ourselves within a community that prides itself on ‘community first.’ We hope to share our successes with our fellow community businesses and clients.”
Receipt of the SBOY award was the culmination of an accomplished year for Bii. A company dedicated to the environment and the people who populate it, Bii defines itself as “green.” From re-purposing and breathing life into a commercial space that had stood vacant for years, to elevating an industry known for harsh chemicals to one with a much gentler path.
Said Swanlund: “We have strengthened our commitment as a green company by offsetting all of our electrical use with Wind Energy certificates. A new recycling program was implemented that allows for us to recycle non-traditional items such as the tubes our hair color comes in, as well as old salon tools. Paper products used in the salon are made with recycled content. Instead of disposable coffee cups we had mugs created by CP Apparel, a fellow chamber member and also one of the other business nominated for Small Business of the Year.”
The success of the past year has been matched by learning, experience and growth. “The exciting part about winning the Small Business of the Year in our first year is that we have illustrated that we are here to stay,” Swanlund explained. “Many times during our first year we heard from clients and other chamber members that we would have a difficult time with our location. We didn’t let this get us down. We know that proper business planning is important and that a salon is a destination service.”
Promotional events last year did well, and new ones are on the horizon. “Our Pie Eating Customer Appreciation event held in August in conjunction with Dessertful Bakery and Edward Jones, two other chamber members in the same shopping center as we are. This event was a blast and helped us raise almost $500 for the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township,” Swanlund said.
The salon plans to continue its outreach and networking efforts in 2013.
A “Bii Hired, Makeover and Career Search” event is planned toward helping women re-enter the workforce looking and feeling their best.
Bii is at 1955 Huntley Road. For more information, call Swanlund at 224-699-0123 or email at email@example.com.