Illusions escapes foreclosure

By Marissa DeCuir
December 3, 2008

Illusions Salon & Day Spa reopened with a new name and is once again under Dick and Kathy Minton’s ownership.

“In lieu of foreclosure, we took the salon back,” Dick Minton said.

Minton opened the business, renamed Kiva, in 1983 and retired four years ago. Billy Smith, a stylist of eight years at the time, took the reins.

Smith said the economy got the best of him.

“Just last year, our business has been off and it’s been tough,” Smith said. “The economy has been tough this year, and it’s been hard to manage a business of that size.”

He wouldn’t comment any further on the business’ financial struggle.

Minton met for lunch at Smith’s request two months ago.

“He said he may have to file for bankruptcy,” Minton said.

They began negotiating what to do with the business shortly after that meeting.

Gift cards no good

All Illusions gift cards hold no value.

“There’s no money,” Minton said. “There would be no money to pay the stylists.”

Minton said he plans to make Kiva gift cards available and return to his way of running that part of the business. He’ll put money paid for gift cards in a trust account and use that account only for redeemed gift card services.

He hopes customers will put their trust in him.

“There’s not great spin that can be put on all of this,” Minton said. But, “Clients know it was something we didn’t have any control over.”

Minton said he believes there will be a few customers who won’t ever come back to the business because of this inconvenience.

The other option would have been to close, Minton said.

“There was a lot more that would have been lost. The cards would’ve still been of no value,” he said. “But 60 people would’ve been out of a job.”

Preserving those jobs and the business itself were “very important” to him and his wife.

They settled on working to re-brand the business, which moved to the Belle Meade area in 1991. Kiva hosts the same staff, and Minton said services remain the same, though he does plan to add some in the future.

“We will do whatever we have to do to gain back our image we once had and enhance our image,” Minton said.

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