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Paleness was popular within the upper classes preceding the industrial revolution. It was seen as a sign of a noble life of leisure spent indoors, while dark skin was associated with toiling in fields all day.
It’s alleged that tanning was finally made chic when Coco Chanel caught too much sun on a Mediterranean cruise. Her friend Prince Jean-Louis later said: “I think she may have invented sunbathing. At that time, she invented everything.” In the 1970s, as fewer families could afford lavish vacations to sunny destinations, methods of sunless tanning – such as self-tanning lotion – grew in popularity. By 1979, the sunbed was introduced as a quick way of bronzing. To differentiate: indoor tanning uses UV light to tan and sunless refers to the use of lotions to achieve color.
Tropicana Tanning – with locations on Hocking Ave and Vedder Rd – opened a short time after the tanning boom in 1979, and are now celebrating 30 years of steady business in Chilliwack.
When tanning beds were first introduced, there was very little education and rules on how to use the equipment. Over the last 25 years that all has changed, and owners of Tropicana Tanning, Tom and Sue Wientjes, have been through it all.
“As more scientific research is done, we now understand that the benefits of UV exposure outweigh the risks,” says Tom Wientjes. “People are always looking for convenient ways to get their UV exposure and that is where our industry can help, and will continue to grow.”
Tropicana Tanning did exactly that. They grew from a modest two-bed studio in 1987 to a total of 25 tanning units and two locations in Chilliwack. In 1989, they opened their 2400 sq. ft Vedder location with 13 tanning units plus the Red Light Therapy Booth. In 1990, as indoor tanning continued to rise in popularity, they opened the 2000 sq. ft location at 45891 Hocking Ave, which has twelve tanning units plus two whole body vibration machines and spray tanning options. Both salons sell ladies swimwear year-round.
“People tan for different reasons; some do it just to keep a healthy glow, some pre-tan before a tropical vacation to prevent sunburn, others come in to help keep their vitamin D levels up in the fall, winter, and spring months,” says Wientjes. “As owners we are hands-on operators. We like to treat our clients how we would want to be treated and give them the results they are coming in for.”
He says the atmosphere in the salon is happy with friendly, knowledgeable staff that ensures the equipment is working at peak performance. They are also constantly keeping up with all the latest information on the effects of UV light on the human body.
To celebrate 30 years in business, Tropicana Tanning is offering $30 specials on minutes, lotions, and packages for the month of February. This includes their highly popular spray tanning option.
Under the age of 18 years must have a doctor’s prescription to use tanning beds. To learn more, visit tropicanatanning.com.