Married accounting students put business to the test

Tanning 1-25

George Dimos assists customers while his wife, Jennifer Dimos, searches through the appointment book at Tanfastic Tanning Salon in Boardman. Photo by Kacy Standohar/The Jambar.

For George and Jennifer Dimos, time management is crucial. Like most married couples, they’ve got bills to pay, a house to maintain and work to do.

But the Dimoses have added a little more to their plate: They own and manage Tanfastic Tanning Salon, which is located in Boardman at 813 Boardman Poland Road, while studying accounting at Youngstown State University.

George Dimos, 30, former owner and president of Elite Marketing Essentials Inc. in Howland, sold his company two years ago. He attends YSU in hopes of earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

His wife Jennifer, 28, received her undergraduate degree in accounting at YSU in 2006 and has returned as a graduate student. She is also a corporate accountant at Stoneridge Inc. in Howland.

“We were looking for something to start up, and it was just the right time and the right place,” George Dimos said.

He added that his wife previously managed a tanning salon and has the experience.

“We really complement each other and make a great team,” he said. “She handles the accounting, and I deal with more of the logistics.”

The Dimoses bought the tanning salon in November. Since taking over, business has been good.

“It was better than what we projected,” George Dimos said. “The revenue is up 50 percent from 2010.”

Jennifer Dimos said the salon is receiving a lot of business despite the slower winter season. She added that their best season is usually spring or summer.

The couple said they altered the look of the salon because the interior was outdated.

“We wanted to make it more long term and upscale,” George Dimos said. “But the prices have stayed the same, and we kept all of the staff on board.”

The Dimoses said customer service and cleanliness are the salon’s main priorities.

They agreed that these two aspects help drive overall success.

“Our goal is to not only meet the customers’ expectations but to exceed them,” he said.

YSU students can get a month membership for $25 when they bring their YSU ID. The Dimoses will be passing out backstage passes for discounts on lotion and tanning packages in Kilcawley Center later in the semester.

They said they cater to students because they are students themselves.

“We understand wanting to prep for spring break, and we understand budgets,” George Dimos said.

Tanfastic is also planning to open another location in a plaza on Boardman Canfield Road so customers can choose to tan at either or both locations.

The Ohio Small Business Development Center at the Williamson College of Business Administration assisted the Dimoses in the development of their business.

SBDC graduate assistant Sarah Stafford said she and co-worker Danielle Sweat advised the couple with cash flow statements, press releases and news involvement.

Stafford added that the SBDC helped plan Tanfastic’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 13.

“We also generally work on marketing research, loan proposals and focus groups if a client needs a non-biased evaluation of their product,” Stafford said.

The SBDC’s services are open to the public and free for students. The startup seminar is the only service with a $10 fee. However, the fee is waved for students.

Jennifer Dimos said the SBDC really helped her and her husband get started.

“It’s definitely a challenge to balance everything. I try not to allow one thing interfere with another and focus on completing specific tasks for each hour of each day,” George Dimos said.

He also said that being an accounting major makes the entire experience interesting.

“There are many things that are covered in class that are applicable to what I do every day with the business and vice versa,” he said. “Having the business experience allows me the opportunity to better interpret some of the material we cover in class.”

“We’re really excited about this,” Jennifer Dimos said.