After pandemic, new salon gets EDA grant

Photo by Clay Schuldt EDA Coordinator Heather Bregel (left) presented Melanie Kittleson, owner of Schone Haut, with a $10,000 incentive grant check Monday from the New Ulm Economic Development Authority.

NEW ULM — Schone Haut, located at 511 N. Broadway, became the eighth business to receive the Economic Development Authority’s small business incentive grant in 2022.

Schone Haut is a skin care salon run by Melanie Kittleson. The business name means “beautiful skin” in German. Kittleson opened the business in February this year.

The salon offers custom facials, body waxing, lash lift and tints. Kittleson said her salon is open to everyone, women and men. Many customers are teenagers who are struggling with acne.

Kittleson said the $10,000 incentive grant will help cover overhead costs, including the purchasing of equipment, product and advertisement. She said a small business can incur quite a few expenses in the first year. She was grateful for the EDA grant to help with startup costs.

The Small Business Incentive grant program started in 2019 is designed to support new small businesses in New Ulm with their startup expenses during their first year of operation. The grant reimburses owners for eligible expenses up to $10,000 per business.

In a typical year, the EDA allocates $50,000 to this program and funds five new small businesses, but there has been a sharp increase in demand in 2022.

EDA Coordinator Heather Bregel said there is a recent boom in the self-care industry. Multiple salons opened in the last year following the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic the year before.

Kittleson agreed there was an increased need, as many self-care businesses were booked in advance. She believed the pandemic increased stress and anxiety and self-care businesses help relieve some of the pressure.

With the overall increase in local small business, the EDA agreed in July to allocate additional funds this year. Eight have been awarded since the start of the year. Bregel said there were funds for two additional small business grants this year.


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