Tammy Huinker, photo by Duane Tinkey
Q & A
One piece of advice for other entrepreneurs?
Start slow and build up to the growth.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
Having an equestrian center and being a trainer. I would put my heart and soul into that.
What was your first job?
Busing tables at Godfather’s Pizza.
Tammy Huinker’s newest venture, Salon Six Suites in Ankeny, reflects the entrepreneur’s go-getter attitude, which is encouraging others to branch out on their own.
In 1995, Huinker resigned from her position with Dee Zee Manufacturing, her employer of 16 years, and purchased a Molly Maid franchise territory that covers her hometown of Ankeny and nine other cities northeast of Des Moines.
With more than 400 regular customers on file, the business owner said she is driven by a desire to set new objectives. Last December, Huinker opened Salon Six Suites, which is located in the owner-occupied building that she and her husband developed in 2007 to house Molly Maid of Ankeny at 6828 N.E. 14th St.
With a goal of helping aestheticians, cosmetologists and massage therapists become more personally vested in their trades as business owners, Huinker designed and built out the interior of a space she had originally intended to be build-to-suit rental property.
“The reason I pushed so hard to get that going is I love the fact that women can go into business for themselves when they really think they can’t,” she said. Huinker finished the space’s six suites in order to negate the cost that her tenants would have had to spend on interior improvements.
“I sketched out what I kind of wanted it to look like and then sketched out the inside,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed it personally, because I got to go in and decorate the whole thing. Then, each of the rooms when the gals come in and lease it, they get to decorate their own suites. It’s been a fun project.”
Customer-focused Huinker said Salon Six Suites, which is fully leased with six businesses ranging from salons to spas, also reflects her desire to give busy women such as herself a place to unwind for an hour or two. “I love to have that day where I can just go and spend the afternoon in a salon … because I am busy all the time,” she said. “It’s a treat. I just like the concept of it.”
Huinker’s overall philosophy revolves around taking appropriately sized steps to accomplish big things. Always searching for the next milestone, she wants to provide aspiring women business owners with room to grow.
“I always went with the concept of starting small and working my way up to it,” Huinker said of how she built her Molly Maid business from the ground up. “Instead of leaps, I wanted to take small steps, and that way I didn’t get in over my head.
“I had accomplishments in my other job. I think you need that to stay happy and healthy in life. Some people don’t need that as much as other people. It’s striving to meet that next goal. And once you meet it, it’s an accomplishment. It’s been really a neat challenge for me; got me all fired up.”