FLINT, Michigan — Spend any amount of time in downtown Flint and odds are pretty good of meeting up with Natalie and Alex Kadie — a power couple, entrepreneurs, Flint ambassadors, and owners of Eight Ten Nail Bar.
Eight Ten Nail Bar opened in May, a full-service nail salon where guests are also invited to indulge in a glass of wine along with total relaxation. “We visited Detroit a few years back and just had a really great experience. We saw the similarities between Detroit, how it’s turning around, and being here in Flint just envisioning a lot of the same opportunities,” Natalie says. “We love Flint and we want to be a part of the change.”
While Natalie is a homegrown Flintstone, Alex transplanted here in 2001 from Charlotte, North Carolina. The two originally met in high school but reconnected after their paths crossed again at The Loft, a dance club just around the corner from where they have built their business. Their friendship turned into a relationship and the duo has been together six years.
Four years ago, during the height of the water crisis, they moved into one of Flint’s downtown lofts despite family objections encouraging them to live in a suburban area. “For us it was a no-brainer because Flint is always home. And now that we have been living down here, we see this city with a different lens than most might, because we see the possibilities for growth,” Alex says.
Both knew they would build a business together someday. They just didn’t know when.
“I think it was when my children graduated from high school, because it just seemed like the right time. I kept hearing that question, ‘What am I going to do now?’ because I want it to be something that I do for me,” Natalie recalls.
The Kadies already had noticed a demand for more retail spaces downtown, to make the area a destination for more than the bars and restaurants. “You want to be able to buildout spaces for this to be a destination for shopping and to relax and enjoy yourself,” Natalie says. “So in visiting and doing some research, we thought we could be a good fit for the growing dynamic of businesses down here.”
Located in the Wade Trim building next to Table and Tap and just across from the Capitol Theatre, the Kadies picked this spot after meeting with Uptown Developments about available retail locations.
“When we came to check out this space in particular, I was still unsure if we should do it, to make this kind of commitment,” Natalie says. “When we walked in the door, we saw two cornhole boards and they said Ferris State and my boys go to Ferris State,” she laughs. “I just felt like it was a sign that this is where we need to be.”
The salon offers acrylic and shellac, manicures, pedicures, waxing, bachelorette and wedding parties and will offer eyelash extension in a few weeks. They also offer a healthy dose of community pride.
“We kind of seeing this area turning into our own version of what is in Detroit, Ann Arbor, or Lansing. We want folks to come down here and have a full experience of going to the Farmer’s Market, do some other shopping, seeing the changes occurring, coming here and having a mani-pedi, and then catching a show at The Capitol,” Natalie says. “We know it’s not perfect and that we still have problems to face here — but haven’t we always had problems to face? This town is one of the few where there is big opportunity, because it’s not a crowded market. If you don’t like what you see here, it might take a lot of hard work but right now anybody has the opportunity to create it.”
Adds Alex, “Everyone knows to make it in life, not just here, you have to do a lot of uncomfortable things — work jobs you don’t like, long hours and sometimes those bad days drag on. But if you know there is an opportunity sitting there, why not take all those bad, long and frustrating days to build something better for yourself and for Flint.”
Eight Ten Nail Bar is located at 555 S Saginaw St. in downtown Flint. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call or (810) 422-9568 or check out its Facebook page