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A new guy takes over at the tanning salon

Branden Zahnle took over Sol 360 Tanning Salon in January.

When Branden Zahnle graduated from St. Thomas University in December he never really considered working for someone else. The 25-year-old knew he wanted to own a business.

After looking into a number of options, including a sandwich shop and a pizzeria, things fell into to place for Zahnle to buy Sol 360 Tanning Salon in Rosemount Crossings.

In fact, it worked out really well because Zahnle's fiancée, Katie Woltering, had worked at a tanning salon for several years and knew the industry well. Together the duo had the know-how and work ethic to make the business work.

"It is a perfect fit for us, and we're excited to do this," said Zahnle.

Zahnle doesn't fit the stereotype of a tanning salon owner. He has a degree in philosophy and served in the Army for four years. While deployed in Iraq he was injured and spent several years recovering.

Despite the setback, Zahnle said his family and the military prepared him to be an entrepreneur. Zahnle said the Army provided him leadership skills, while watching his dad own businesses provided Zahnle with entrepreneurial spirit.

"Watching him own businesses really set me up to own my businesses," said Zahnle.

Zahnle hopes to open additional businesses in the future - possibly another tanning salon.

Now that he's in business for himself, Zahnle wants to incorporate the efficiencies of a large corporation while providing the customer service of a mom and pop shop.

A month into owning the salon, Zahnle said things are going well. He knows the names of many of his customers, as they walk through the door.

To spruce things up he made a few aesthetic changes including new paint on the wall and carpets with the Sol 360 logo in each of the tanning rooms. Every customer is equipped with a fresh towel and a chocolate treat for each visit.

Sol 360 also has changed its offerings of tanning lotions including the addition of several men's lines.

"I wanted to make sure everybody is taken care of," said Zahnle. "And men are neglected in the tanning world."

For the fellas, Zahnle also has put men's spray deodorant in each of the rooms along with stuff for the ladies. Zahnle said his clients range in age from 15 years old to 86.

Sol 360 has 10 tanning beds. The salon offers three levels of Soltron beds including low, medium and high pressure. The salon also offers one stand up bed, which Zahnle said is popular among his male customers.

Zahnle said the salon sells tanning by session instead of minutes. Customers can purchase a single session or packages up to 20 tans.

Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Appointments are not required to tan.

Sol 360 Tanning Salon is located at 14875 S. Robert Tr. For more information visit or call 651-322-3022.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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