Meraki Salon & Massage offers wide variety of services at new location on Allamakee Street in Waukon

Meraki Salon & Massage receives First Dollar Visit ... Meraki Salon & Massage, newly opened at 12 Allamakee Street in Waukon, recently received a First Dollar Visit from the Waukon Chamber of Commerce. Pictured above at the First Dollar Visit presentation are, left to right, Waukon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors members Tyler Halverson and Sherrie Hunstad, Meraki Salon & Massage owner Cortney Ryan, Kulla Mincks, Kalysta Kerner (seated), Shirley Sharp, Pat Stone and Larry Sharp. Photo courtesy of Waukon Chamber of Commerce.

A move to the Waukon area has provided Cortney Ryan with an opportunity to continue to do what she loves in a new location, as she recently opened Meraki Salon & Massage at 12 Allamakee Street in Waukon. Ryan first opened her new business April 4 of this year, and she has been planning for her grand opening coming up Monday, July 2 (see advertisement printed below for additional event details).

Ryan has 16 years of professional experience doing hair, having achieved her cosmetology license after graduating from La James College in Mason City in September 2002. More recently, she completed a degree in Massage Therapy from Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC), from where she graduated in the summer of 2013 with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees as well.

“I have always loved doing hair,” she said. “I had my own shop before and have also worked in some shops in Decorah. I continue doing hair at Vennehjem and helping out in the Aase Haugen beauty shop. Massage is also very rewarding, helping people with problem areas and/or just having them come in to get relaxed.”

Having been born in LaCrosse, WI but raised and attended school in Decorah, Ryan more recently moved to the outskirts of Waukon and was remarried July 17 of last year. Her new husband, Deadwood, SD native Dustin Ryan, and her daughter, Kalysta, now call rural Waukon home.

“I really like the town of Waukon and the people, and I wanted to see if I could make a go of what I love to do in this town,” Ryan shared. “In my spare time I enjoy working around my house, indoor and outdoor. As a family we like to do family fun things.”

Her family also includes one step-son, Gavin, and one step-daughter, Shelby. The family also has a dog named Copper, two cats named Marquo and Polo, and a hamster named Fuzzy, along with fish and turtles.

Ryan says one of the questions she is asked most often is where she came up with the name for her new business. “People are always wondering how I came up with the name Meraki,” she explained. “I initially saw it on Pinterest, but what made me fall in love with the name is the meaning of Meraki. It means ‘The soul, love, or creativity put into something; the essence of yourself that you put into your work.’ I loved the saying because I put my all into my work.”

The “all” that she puts into her work is further evident in the wide array of services she offers at Meraki Salon & Massage. “My business is unique because I offer a variety of services, such as color, highlights, men-women-kids haircuts, perms, eyebrow and other face waxing, pedicures, manicures, facials, updos, shampoo sets and massage,” Ryan said. “I love going to continuing education classes and learning new techniques. I also sell one-of-a-kind jewelry. The hair product I carry at the present time is Joico and Kenra. I offer deals on different occasions.”

Meeting new people, decorating her salon to her own taste, and having all of her Decorah followers continue to enjoy her services in her new location are just some of the aspects of running her own business that have proven to be most rewarding for Ryan in her new venture.

“I’ve been very blessed with all the people in my life,” she said. “Also, it is nice to set my own hours and be able to be on call for customers. I live close enough to come in when needed. Having a supportive family and friends that want to see me succeed has been amazing.”

The greatest challenge Ryan says she has faced since opening Meraki Salon & Massage is the changing of her hours of operation during the school year. “I work as an associate in the Decorah school district,” she explained. “Then my hours change to Monday and Thursday off and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 4:30-7 p.m., but Saturday remains the same, 9 a.m.-l p.m.”

Now that she has her new business established in Waukon, Ryan has plans to build upon it and expand her services even wider. “I want to build up my clientele and eventually have someone come and work with me,” she said. “I would also love to go back to college to get my nail technician license and also to learn to apply false eyelashes.”

Ryan said appointments can be made by calling or texting 563-379-9585 or through the Meraki Salon & Massage page on Facebook, or she welcomes anyone to just walk in and see what might be available for hair or massage appointments. She also has an email address of and her current hours are posted on the Meraki Salon & Massage Facebook page and in the front window of her storefront on the initial block of Allamakee Street.

“I am willing to come in during non-scheduled hours if I have nothing planned for that day, and if you give me at least a day notice,” Ryan said in a further show of her willingness to serve her customers as best as she can.

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