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Kansas Small Business Development Center

Sensei Salon

Sensei Salon

2007 Existing Business of the Year

Sensei Salon, LLC offers spa services without the spa price. Owner, Marlina Poff, has been a cosmetologist for 25 years, and has managed various salons, including establishments in Oklahoma and Hawaii. Following her vision, Marlina and a partner opened Emporia’s first day spa and salon in 2002. With Marlina’s marketing and management skills, the business grew into the successful business it is today. In 2005, Marlina and her husband and business partner, Sgt. Gary Poff, opened Sensei Salon.

The first location for Sensei was in a high-traffic area which, along with a good reputation and good marketing efforts, worked well for the business. In 2007, Sensei Salon moved to its current location at 3171 West Highway 50 in Emporia. The new location provides ample parking and easy access. The salon offers hairstyling, manicures, pedicures, skin treatments, makeup, electrolysis, and massage therapy. In both business endeavors, Emporia State University KSBDC assisted Marlina with her business plans and financial projections.

Marlina and her staff recognize the importance of making their clients feel special.
They hope that their clients feel valued and special during the first visit and all
future visits. One client commented: “No matter if I’m the first client or the last
client for the day, it’s just as if I’m the only client for the whole day.” Marlina and
her staff value the support of the local and outlying communities. That support is
given back through the salon’s generosity to the schools and churches, and its
involvement in community organizations and events. Marlina also appreciates the
support her clients and community organizations have shown while Gary has
been deployed to Iraq with the 35th MP Company, Kansas National Guard. “It is
also important for other business owners whose spouses or partners are
deployed, to realize that great things can still be accomplished while they are
away, and to stay focused not on the doubts and fears of the war, but on the
opportunities before them.”