Carrie Rengers

Restaurant row in west Wichita soon to be home to new business that’s not a restaurant

Bao Vo and his wife, Mai, are starting a new nail and eyelash extension salon called Emeli Kate. It’s named for their three children, Emery, who is 8 months, Eliah, 3, right, and Kayden, 5, center.
Bao Vo and his wife, Mai, are starting a new nail and eyelash extension salon called Emeli Kate. It’s named for their three children, Emery, who is 8 months, Eliah, 3, right, and Kayden, 5, center. Courtesy photo

UPDATED — Restaurant row along Ridge Road between Maple and Kellogg is getting another new business, but it’s not a restaurant.

Emeli Kate, a nail and eyelash extension salon, is going to open this fall between Abuelo’s and Firehouse Subs.

The business may sound like it’s named for a woman, but Bao Vo actually has named it after his three children: Emery, who is 8 months, Eliah, 3, and Kayden, 5.

If it sounds like a lot to open a new business with three young children, Vo couldn’t agree more.

“Yeah, tell me about it. I’m up late after I put them to bed.”

Vo says he has a lot of inspiration for the business, though.

It’s been a longtime dream of his to own his own business, and the death of his father, Mau Vo, in September motivated him to get started.

“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t do it before he passed,” Vo says. “It kind of pushed me to put me out there and take a leap of faith.”

Working at his brother’s out-of-state salon also inspired Vo to do better than what he experienced, he says.

“I really want to make a difference in the industry,” Vo says.

He says a lot of salons aren’t focused on their employees. Vo says he wants to treat people well, but he says he’s having a hard time finding employees because some workers aren’t accustomed to being traditionally paid and having W2 forms, “so it’s turning them off.”

Vo says he’s trying to entice workers with health care and a retirement match.

He plans four eyelash extension tables, five pedicure chairs and 11 manicure stations in 2,000 square feet.

Austin Swisher and Christi Royse of J.P. Weigand & Sons handled the deal for the space.

“It’s a really good location,” Vo says. “A lot of things are happening there.”

He says his mother, Quy Vu, and his wife, Mai Vo, are especially supportive of his business.

“And it helps that my brother is very doubtful of my success,” Vo says of her older brother who lives out of state. “It motivates me even more.”

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Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.
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