Anita Teeter has an appointment at Tanglez & Rayz every two or three weeks, and she walks out with a unique design on her acrylic nails each time.
Usually, it's specific to the upcoming holiday. In February, she'll get her nails painted red with hearts. March will be green with four-leaf clovers and leprechauns.
"I've had everything from motorcycles to snow machines to every type of cartoon character," Teeter said.
For hunting season, she got Elmer Fudd and Buggs Bunny painted on her nails.
"The first time I had got them done was for a wedding, and I've got them done ever since," she said.
She always goes to nail tech and hair stylist Sarah Walker, who has been in the profession for 17 years.
"I do a lot of nail art because people like to express themselves," Walker said.
Andy Nguygen, owner of California Nails in Centennial Mall, said custom-designed acrylics are popular at his shop, as well.
He moved to Craig with intentions to open California Nails because he saw a need for a nail salon here. But others disagree.
Walker, for instance, said that new salons open frequently and that competition is tight. She attributes this to the Colorado Northwestern Community College opening the cosmetology program here in 2001.
Her daughter graduated from the program in the fall, but was unable to find work. So she found a job at a bank.
"The market is so flooded," Walker said.
Bobbi Peed, a member of CNCC's cosmetology advisory board, who is now an instructor, disagreed. The board had concerns about students taking clients because of lower prices for hair, nail and skin care while the students learn their trade and swamping Craig's capacity for salons, but she said that hasn't happened.
"Competition is good for us," Peed said. "Keeps us on our toes and makes us better people in business."
Cosmetology Director Tracy Caddy said only half of the 30 students trained in nails stay in Craig because many commute from other locations.
"I hate it when people say we're flooding the market," Caddy said. "If that were so, I would not be getting calls all week."
She said she'll take two calls a day from salons and day spas looking for new employees.
And as for the concern of CNCC students stealing customers from salons in Craig, Caddy has a rebuttal.
"People who can afford to go to a salon will go to a salon," she said. "Now it's available for people who would never do that for themselves. Now they can for a low rate."
The biggest advantage of the college, salon owners and cosmetology instructors agree, is the geographic location. Before CNCC started the program, the closest colleges that offered cosmetology were in Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, and the commute proved to be difficult for many students.
"(Now Craig residents) can accomplish their dreams while staying at home," Peed said.
On top of that, nail techs across town are giving fanatics more choices and the festive nail art they want.
Caddy said some of the new trends are natural-looking gel nails, charms dangling from nails and French tip acrylic toenails.
Peed said first impressions are important, and people need to keep their cuticles and feet looking nice, and that's why she thinks nail salons have become big business.
"Aside from being able to relax and let someone else pamper you," she said.
Michelle Perry can be reached at
824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.