When Rick Popoff opened his salon, there were 20 competitors on the island, “but as far as I know, none of those people are still in the business,” he said. That was 25 years ago, when Rick’s Island Salon and Day Spa at The Esplanade opened for business in November 1992. Bill Clinton had been elected president, but George H.W. Bush was still in office.
A quarter of a century later and Rick’s is going strong with 30 employees and additional associates offering a staggering lineup of haircare, skincare, nail care and therapeutic services. There are 25 different items priced under the haircare category alone, plus a few such as hair extensions, which are priced during an initial consultation and “specialty styles” which include the phrase “and up” after the listed price.
Skincare services include deep pore cleansing, microdermabrasion and the advanced corrective peel – "our most aggressive clinical peel.” These are in addition to waxing services, permanent makeup, eyelash extensions and bridal services, which his spa is uniquely equipped and staffed to offer, Popoff said.
“There are few salons in Collier County, let alone Marco Island,” with the capacity to handle a large bridal party all at one, he said. “For a true day spa, you have to have all the services under one roof. We can do large wedding parties because we have the staff to accommodate them.”
Popoff denied having any great business acumen, instead attributing the company’s success to being in the right place at the right time.
“We were fortunate enough to grow with the island," he said.
If there is a business genius, he said, it's his wife Lisa, who acts as business manager, dealing with the CPAs and overseeing day-to-day operations and scheduling.
“She’s the boss,” Popoff said, showing at least some level of management skill.
Lisa said the formula is simple: Give the people what they want...and a little bit more.
Rick’s is very much a family business; not only do Popoff and Lisa work together every day, but all three of their daughters, Sasha, Krista and Nikki, are on staff. All this family togetherness could be fodder for conflict and bruised feelings, but it hasn’t worked out that way, they say.
“We’re all so busy we don’t have time to get on each other’s nerves,” Sasha said.
“Dad told us that when we walk in to work, our personal life is left outside the door,” Krista added.
In addition to being stylists at the salon, the Popoff's daughters are enthusiastic consumers of some of the services, including hair coloring. Krista tends to change hue with the seasons, and Sasha…
“I never know,” Popoff said. “I came in this morning and Sasha was purple. Yesterday she was a blonde.”
Popoff sees his staff as his extended family, and gives them much credit for the salon’s success.
“We wouldn’t be successful without our employees being dedicated and keeping our clients happy,” he said. “They’re the face of the business.”
And as a Popoff, Rick and his brood are part of the ever-growing Popoff clan on the island, with approximately “36 or 38 – they keep coming, and someone’s always pregnant.”
Giving back to the community is another key to Rick’s becoming woven into the fabric of Marco Island; the salon has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since its first year. Popoff has served on the board of directors since 1998 and was also chamber president in 2000. Lisa has volunteered as a school crossing guard for many years.
The Popoffs support all the island’s events and charities, and created one of their own: offering free back-to-school haircuts for all area schoolchildren, teachers and school staff in Collier County.
Rick’s incorporated on Nov. 19, 1992 after Popoff spent eight years managing the spa at the Marriott. Rick’s Island Salon was not originally located at The Esplanade because it didn't exist when the salon opened.
Instead, the salon's first location was at 207 North Collier Blvd., just down the road, and it expanded in 1996. After Starbucks, Rick’s was the first tenant to sign up when The Esplanade opened in 2004. With Starbucks having moved, the salon is now the longest-tenured tenant. The Popoffs tried opening additional salon locations, but decided it was better to work from one central spot.
Rick’s Island Salon and Day Spa is located at 800 North Collier Blvd. in The Esplanade. For more information on spa services, call Rick’s Island Salon and Day Spa at 239-642-6696 or visit ricksislandsalon.com.