Anna Ryder of Morrison was an executive assistant at a large marketing company in Downers Grove. Among her duties: helping make McDonald's Happy Meals toys.
Because of the commute, family time was at a premium, and she decided that her daughter, Mackenzie, 12, would benefit if she worked closer to home.
Anna had become a certified nail technician in 1989 and graduated from Educators of Beauty of Sterling in 2004, so she went to work as a nail technician in Fulton.
Her clientele grew to include customers from several communities: Fulton, Clinton, Sabula, Savanna, Mount Carroll, Morrison and Albany.
When the opportunity arose in September 2010, she opened Annabella’s in downtown Morrison. It was a little frightening, but she followed her heart and took the risk.
Her first concern was that she would lose many of her clients in the move, but that fear was unfounded. Not only did the majority follow her to Morrison, but she also picked up even more new customers than she had lost.
To Anna, that was a sign that she had made a wise decision. Even with much more responsibility, she feels she’s happier since opening her own shop.
Her husband, Jeff, invested a lot into the business, too. He helped by building her reception desk and the pink bench that bears the salon’s name outside the front door. He also painted the interior and added shelves for product. Anna says she’s thankful for his help because he made the space functional and comfortable for the staff and clients.
The name Annabella’s is a tribute to her father, who gave her that nickname when she was a child. Her Italian heritage is evident in the salon mascot’s name, too. Henry Luigi, a little mop-haired shiatsu with huge brown eyes, greets customers at the door and spreads the love that Anna says is a founding principle of the shop.
“People love coming here," she said. "God gave me this shop, and it’s a ministry. I have people ask how I stay so busy during a down economy. I think it’s because I love what I do.
"I love my customers, and they appreciate my efforts to do my best for them. It’s important to meet their needs and take care of them.”
Henry Luigi is not the only one who greets customers. Mackenzie helps by logging customers into the register and helping them get settled upon their arrival.
Annabella’s has two other beauticians: Brandy Darby and Tiffany Walters. Both join Anna in a team approach to customer care.
“They’re both very friendly and have great skills,” Anna said.
Tiffany's specialty is hair color. She loves creating bold, new looks for clients.
Her experience at Annabella’s has been wonderful, she said.
“The team approach to customer care assures that each client gets the most attention possible during their visit," she said.
Services include acrylic and regular manicures; shellac manicures, which are applied to one’s natural nails and are cured to help them last 14 days; French shellac manicures; pedicures; and paraffin treatments. Prices range from $23 to $32.
The salon also offers haircuts, coloring and styling, from $35 to $40. Facial waxing is available, too.