The first thing a new customer notices when they walk into Lemonade Nail Bar on Spruce Street is the delicious aroma. There is no chemical smell to be endured. Toffee and creme brulee soaps near the door combine with other soothing scents to tease your muscles into relaxing. A friendly welcome and an unapologetic soundtrack coax a smile when you realize, ‘This isn’t grandma’s salon.’

   Co-owner Emma Rae Thomas didn’t want “pink, bows and frilly.” Her vision was more whimsical. “I wanted a place where Alice would go to get her nails done when she got back from Wonderland.” Thomas sees Alice as an accepting lady who appreciates minimal design and 90s alternative music. “We’re all children of the 90s,” is how she explains Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Bush and the acknowledged favorite Goo Goo Dolls on the radio. The music goes a long way to create the gender neutral atmosphere for catering to anyone who walks in the door. “There’s no judgement here,” Thomas said. “Dare tradition.”


   Emma and co-owners Seth Thomas and Noah Brown are banking on people defying norms. In addition to all the services one would expect for women at a nail salon there is a full line for fellas under the heading ‘Let’s Hear It For The Boys.’ If a man still needs a little prodding he can always join his special someone for a couples calming experience. His masculinity needn’t be too challenged when he reviews the possibilities. For the bold there are waxing options including a “Bro-zilion.” But, the real treats are out on the main floor before God and everybody. Enjoy a beer manicure or a bacon pedicure.This baconophile reporter didn’t feel any less manly after getting his feet the attention they deserve.

   The owners are friends from high school who have worked together before as programmers and were inspired to start Lemonade. “It’s pretty neat coming from programming where it’s very hands off. Nice to get a new perspective and I’m liking it so far,” Brown said. Brown can speak to the quality of services as he’s tried out several of them. He’s a bearded man who got a chin wax, pedicure and even walked a mile in acrylic nails. “I appreciate them more now. It’s hard to pick up stuff with them,” Brown said.

   Emma Thomas is confident that with just under two months operation they’ve already carved a niche. Customers are appreciative and let it be known. She encourages anyone to check the reviews on their Facebook page. “We have 13 or 14 5-star reviews. That is to say we have 13 or 14 reviews.” At press time Lemonade had a 4.8 rating based on 20 reviews. One new customer who echoes the raters’ sentiments is WVU Senior Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Major Ashley Wissinger. Wissinger shared her thoughts during a manicure Friday afternoon while she was getting right for the weekend. “The sign pulled me in. I’d been searching,” she said. Other nail salons made Ashley wait too long. Lemonade appealed with its online appointment capacity and, “I think it’s so cute in here,” she said.

    Quality of service is important to the ownership team but safety is paramount. Emma Thomas stresses that they do not reuse disposable items like files and buffers (as required by law) and even send them home with customers. Reusable items go through a complete sanitization and sterilization process that includes the use of an autoclave. The salon’s layout reflects this safety commitment. “We’re super transparent. Others are cloaked in mystery,” she said, adding, “Take a serious stand for your own health.”

   Lemonade’s Fall scents will be arriving soon. They include a pumpkin selection of course, an apple variety and mocha. Check out Lemonade Nail Bar’s website