ABINGDON, Va. — Like you, I’ve looked at that big building on West Main Street while filling up at the Marathon next door and wondered, “What next?”
This was once a Los Arcos Mexican restaurant at 909 W. Main St. in Abingdon.
Today, it’s en route to be The Polished Diamond: A Luxury Spa, thanks to the tenacity of owner Melissa McConnell.
A 1993 graduate of Coeburn High School, McConnell earned a degree in political science at Emory & Henry College in 1998.
She spent 15 years as a paralegal. Then she operated her own business selling products from Thirty-One Gifts.
For the past few years, she’s been the chief executive officer of The Polished Diamond, her own nail salon that also offers facials and massages near the old Magic Mart in Abingdon.
“I took a leap of faith totally from starting my own business. I had no intention of doing nails,” she said. “I was just going to manage it, answer the phone, take the money.”
But she mined a mission to reflect the sparkle of her business name.
“‘The Polished Diamond,’ to me, means it’s deeper than just nail polish,” McConnell said. “When people come here, they feel new again.”
You might say McConnell feels the same.
With her lease up at the existing location, she’s on the move to that old Los Arcos.
Not only that, she is also expanding — in a big way.
“We will have nails, facial, spa, hair salon,” McConnell said. “And, eventually, we’ll add a cafe.”
Adding a hair salon is a natural for McConnell, who plans to employ 17 people.
“A lot of my girls, they’re licensed to do hair, but they choose to do nails,” McConnell said. “And a lot of my clients have said, ‘Why don’t you do hair?’ So I think there’s a need for it.”
The new home of McConnell’s business promises much, the owner said as we took a tour of her construction site.
“I like the architecture and the high ceilings, the outside and the facade,” she said. “It’s just unusual.”
McConnell has targeted Feb. 25 for a soft opening at her new location.
But she’s cooking up something more — literally.
McConnell’s mom is slated to help open a new cafe that will specialize in comfort foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, grilled cheese and chili.
“It will be something a little different,” McConnell said. “It’s not your traditional, healthy spa food, but it will be a draw for this area.”