New owners take control of Serenity Spa and Salon

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Raya Horst and Jessica Matson, who have been friends since kindergarten, recently acquired Serenity Spa and Salon and Posh Boutique at 1705 Tower Ave. They celebrated with an open house and ribbon cutting on Monday August 23.

Even though the two were opposed in high school Matson was a dancer, Horst a basketball player who could barely bother to brush his hair their different talents have combined well to launch a business partnership.

“We have our own strengths, but the same goals,” Matson said. “So we work together to achieve this goal because our weaknesses balance each other.”

Matson’s strengths lie in the paperwork and organization behind the scenes. Horst excels in marketing, appearances and social media.

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Jessica Matson is putting the finishing touches on Nancy O'Neill's makeup at Serenity Spa and Salon and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Jessica Matson is putting the finishing touches on Nancy O’Neill’s makeup at Serenity Spa and Salon and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

It’s more than an affair for the two, who met in kindergarten at Cathedral School and graduated from upper secondary school in 2012.

“We have become kind of a giant family,” said Horst, instead of two separate owners. “You know, as they say, you need a village and here we have just become this tight-knit group where her children are mine, mine are hers.”

Raya Horst laughs as she finishes styling Hannah Checkett's hair at the Serenity Salon and Spa and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Raya Horst laughs as she finishes styling Hannah Checkett’s hair at the Serenity Salon and Spa and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

They took different paths towards entrepreneurship. Matson, whose sister, Jolene Timmers, founded the company, has worked behind the scenes since it opened 12 years ago.

“When she first built Serenity, the girl who taught her actually taught me the computer system. So I was actually the one who knew everything instantly, ”Matson said.

Ownership was a whole new world for Horst, who attended Minnesota State University with a track and field scholarship for a career as a gamekeeper. She served six years in the United States Army, then began taking courses in funeral directors before embarking on a career in cosmetology.

Both were freelance stylists at Serenity before deciding to buy the business, and they continue to see clients. On August 20, Matson put the finishing touches on Nancy O’Neill’s airbrush makeup. A Serenity customer for years, the session was particularly important.

New owners Jessica Matson and Raya Horst changed the logo for Serenity Spa and Salon and Posh Boutique.  Contribution / Raya Horst

New owners Jessica Matson and Raya Horst changed the logo for Serenity Spa and Salon and Posh Boutique. Contribution / Raya Horst

“My son is getting married today,” O’Neill said.

On a nearby chair, Horst chatted with Hannah Checketts while finishing her hair.

“In fact, Raya styles every member of my family,” said Checketts, of Superior. “Three generations, each of us, and then some. My brothers and sisters too. She is incredible.”

The two friends are now juggling invoices, product orders and a dozen employees as well as customers. They also offer chair rentals to a few independent stylists. Timmers has helped them slowly take on their ownership roles over the spring, Matson said, and continues to guide them through the process.

The building is still owned by Timmers, who sees guests in a separate lounge.

Horst and Matson remodeled the store by knocking down a wall, opening up the space and repainting it in earthy tones. They focus on eco-friendly products and styles and plan to continue supporting community efforts such as Pennies from Heaven.

The most recent addition to the boutique’s full line of spa and salon services has been Reiki therapy and card readings. Through the changes, their goal remains to provide service and style to people from all walks of life.

“Everyone should be able to afford to feel beautiful and feel welcome,” said Horst.

Raya Horst laughs as she finishes styling Hannah Checkett's hair at the Serenity Salon and Spa and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Raya Horst laughs as she finishes styling Hannah Checkett’s hair at the Serenity Salon and Spa and Posh Boutique on Friday, August 20, 2021. Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Making people feel beautiful and helping them express themselves is the couple’s favorite part of the job. For them, it’s all in the family.

“Your guests come in and become your family,” said Horst. “… Being part of their goods and their evils, you cannot put a price on it. It’s incredible.”


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