Absolute Beauty by Nancy Penny.
You probably know the sign on the street and on the door leading to the second floor on Bayview, just north of Millwood. And beauty is what Nancy Penny has been supplying for the past 24 years at the same location.
Nancy wasn’t always an aesthetician. She was originally a teacher of mentally and physically handicapped children, and then a stay-at-home mom. Next she worked for 10 years at Mesha, the wool store on Bayview where Bayview Diamond is now located.
Her aunt, who was like a second mother, became her fairy godmother when she asked Nancy what she would most like to do with her life. The answer – be an aesthetician. Nancy’s aunt paid for the 15-month training at The Edith Serei School of Advanced Esthetics, and after graduation, Nancy was hired to be an aesthetician in their spa at Yonge and Bloor.
A year later, she decided the time had come to strike out on her own, and so she did, in Leaside. Nancy rented the space where she still provides facials, pedicures, manicures, eyebrow tinting, threading…..the whole gamut of aesthetic services, with the assistance of her daughter, Jessica, and employee Nia. She has done her best to keep prices low so people can afford to visit regularly. In fact, she hasn’t raised her prices in 15 years!
Her upstairs location is ideal, she says. It means that people can have a more private appointment than they would in a storefront operation, and she can lock the door for everyone’s security. People without appointments do show up, but often need to schedule for a later day or time, because the salon is always hopping. Nancy does advertise from time to time, but thinks that word-of-mouth is what keeps the business thriving.
She is very supportive of her neighbourhood community. I can vouch for that – she always contributes to the Silent Auction at the St. Cuthbert’s Fair, and other local ventures as well.
At nearly a quarter century in her Leaside location, Nancy is now the longest-established aesthetician on Bayview, and has not found that the newer businesses specifically for nails or eyebrows are having an impact on her business.
“It’s a joyful place. There is lots of laughter amongst the screams of pain,” she laughs. “I’m more excited than my customers when they look good.”
It should come as little surprise that Nancy works seven days a week. As she says, “I love it. My husband is happy that I’m happy. Under great protest, I have to take a holiday next week or suffer a divorce. And while I’m away, I’ll look at someone’s bad feet, and say to myself – I could so help you.”
Asked if she might consider stopping work, she replies instantly, “No. If I stayed home, I’d be a full-time babysitter for my three very young grandchildren, so I continue to work.” But there are some exceptions. The day I talked to her, Nancy was heading home to cheerfully do some babysitting after work.