published Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

New salon concept planned for former Northgate movie theater

Beauty salons

A one-time movie theater in Chattanooga's oldest shopping mall will soon house dozens of businesses offering a range of beauty services to create a new you.

Salons by JC will hold 34 suites offering hair care, massage therapy and nail and skin care, said Scott Matsinger, who with wife, Jana, will sublease the 6,500 square feet of space in Northgate Mall.

"There are certain areas of the country where this is getting pretty huge," Matsinger said about the salon concept slated to open in October.

Work has already begun to redo what was a movie house and later a science theater at Northgate. Located near Belk's childrens store, plans are to build out the 34 unique suites in which the professionals will have their own door and security access code, Matsinger said.

He said he'll outfit each suite with the needed major equipment such as sinks, chairs or laundry facilities.

"They can paint or decorate or do whatever they want in their individual suite," Matsinger said.

Each suite will will vary in size, according to need.

If a person is a licensed cosmetologist, they'll just have to obtain a shop licence, Matsinger said.

The advantage is that, outside of lease payments, the salon operators can keep the proceeds on everything they sell rather than turn over a portion of earnings to the owner of other properties they may rent, he said. Also, the business model cuts down on the capital investment needed by the business owners.

"They set their own prices and hours," Matsinger added. Pre-leasing is to start in about six weeks, he said.

He put the investment in the venture at about $700,000.

While suites will be of differing sizes, the average suite will be about 108 square feet, Matsinger said.

Steve Banks, Northgate Mall's general manager, said the salon concept is a new one for Chattanooga.

He termed it "a perfect fit" for Northgate's shoppers.

Demolition work on the site already is underway by mall operator CBL & Associates Properties Inc., which is having to raise the floor because of its past uses, Matsinger said.

Matsinger said he found the mall space more competitive than going in nearby strip centers.

He said CBL is trying to breathe new life into the mall, and he believes it was "a great opportunity to get in."

CBL has already invested in Northgate since purchasing the property in 2011, sprucing it up, rebuilding and adding to an adjacent shopping center, and bringing in new retailers such as Old Navy and Burlington, which is to open this fall. However, mall anchor J.C. Penney closed its store just last week.

Matsinger, who has lived in the Chattanooga area for 17 years, and his wife were looking for an investment to supplement their retirement income when they heard about the Salons by JC franchise.

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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