An Edmonds nail salon and spa has been in the spotlight after one of its employees was accused of refusing service to a Black couple earlier this week.
The owners of Main St. Spa & Nails — located at 220 Main Street — have received backlash from the community after a man posted on social media that his parents were refused service and police were called by salon staff Tuesday afternoon. According to the man, his parents went to the salon for a scheduled appointment for his mother’s birthday, when the staff member working the front counter refused to serve them or acknowledge their reservation, which led to an argument.
During the verbal altercation, the employee called 911 and said that the argument had become “loud” and told dispatch that “someone needs to come now,” said Edmonds police spokesperson Sgt. Josh McClure. Police were also advised that there was a language barrier between the caller and dispatch.
McClure said when the responding officer arrived at the scene, the employee told him the owner was concerned about the number of customers allowed in the salon under Phase 2 guidelines of the state’s Safe Start plan. McClure added that the responding officer’s interaction with the couple was “brief, but positive” and he left after deciding the incident was not a police matter.
“Later that day, at about 6:30 p.m., another officer was sent to the same location,” McClure said. “The business owners reported that they had received a harassing phone call regarding the initial call to police and threatened future gun violence against the business.”
“The owners did not wish to pursue any criminal investigation but wanted the incident documented,” McClure said.
After the incident was posted online, community members flooded the spa’s Facebook page with messages denouncing the incident and promises to never return to the business in protest. The backlash prompted an online apology from the business owners, who said that they are “committed to creating an open and welcoming environment for all community members in Edmonds.”
“We pride ourselves in being an establishment that is welcoming of all people, but in this interaction we failed,” the post stated. “A misunderstanding over appointment scheduling was not handled well by our staff, which led to an escalation of tensions that should not have occurred. We apologize.”
In the posted apology, the owners also attributed the situation in part to the fact that some employees are not proficient in English, which they said led to some confusion. They said they would correct it by ensuring someone with English proficiency would always be present in the salon. The apology also stated that the owners have reached out to the Edmonds Diversity Commission for guidance.
Community members also took to their own social media accounts to address the incident. One of them was Edmonds Planning Board member Alicia Crank, who in a Facebook page video said calling the police was an overreaction.
“Unless this couple was throwing hands or throwing things at people in that shop there was no reason to call the police, especially in this current climate,” she said.
–By Cody Sexton