The Times West Virginian


February 2, 2014

Lion in the Sun to mark 20th anniversary

FAIRMONT — For 20 years, Lion in the Sun has been building valuable relationships and making customers part of the family.

Owner Kim Wherley explained that the history of the business actually goes back to the children's consignment shop that she formerly operated, called Reruns for Wee Ones. She decided to put a tanning bed in a room at the back of the store, and interest caught on quickly.

Lion in the Sun officially opened its doors at 201 Morgantown Ave. in Fairmont on Feb. 4, 1994. More and more tanning beds were added in the years that followed, and Kim sold the consignment shop in 2003 in order to focus on the tanning business.

About that same time, Lion in the Sun added a second store by taking over a salon in White Hall, and then in 2008 another location was built in Fairmont at 1313 Locust Ave. In 2013, the White Hall shop was moved to Kingmont, off Airport Road on Honeybee Drive.

“We really tried to keep up with everything and just make it more available to people on all sides of town,” Kim said.

Plans are in the works to remodel the original store on Morgantown Avenue and bring in new equipment in the next year or two. The shop will be updated to have a more modern, big-city salon feel, like the Kingmont location, said Kim’s daughter Amber Wherley.

“We always want to provide the best that we can for our customers,” said Amber, who has been working with the business for 12 years and has served as the manager for three.

The Morgantown Avenue location features 15 tanning beds, and Locust Avenue and Kingmont are each equipped with 12. Lion in the Sun also offers custom spray tans done by a certified technician, and BleachBright 15-minute teeth whitening.

The business is an authorized distributor of Bee Fit ZXT bee pollen products, which are all-natural herbal supplements that help with weight loss, boosting immune systems and enhancing overall health. In addition, it carries a cosmetic line by celebrity makeup artist Jennifer Bradley.

Because there are so many tanning bed units available, all the locations are walk-in only. Appointments are only accepted for spray tans.

For people who have never tanned with Lion in the Sun before, their first visit is always free, and they receive a free sample of lotion.

“We try to treat our guests like they’re family,” Kim said. “We just want ... to make them feel like they’re at home when they come to us. We’ve made a lot of friends throughout the years and built a lot of nice relationships, and we hope that continues for a long time to come.”

“We value them and want them to have the best experience possible when they’re here,” Amber added.

Lion in the Sun has many loyal clients who come back time after time, and Kim and Amber thanked them for their continued support.

“We have customers that have been with us for 20 years,” Amber said. “It’s great that they’ve stuck with us all that time.”

Lion in the Sun now has nine employees, but will increase the staff to 12 or 13 during peak tanning season, which is typically from February or March to August. Lion in the Sun will begin its extended hours at the beginning of March.

The assistant manager, Latisha Kriston, has been with Lion in the Sun for eight years. Amber said all the employees treat the business as if its their own.

The staff is trained and certified through Smart Tan, and the team always makes sure the salons are nice and clean, Kim said.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” she said of the staff. “We all really work together in making it a success.”

The employees also learn about the different lotions and products so they can tailor them to each client’s needs and wants. They try to help customers understand the tanning process as well as the importance of eyewear while tanning, Amber said.

“Our golden rule here is to never burn,” she said. “It’s important in keeping the care of your skin. We want them to know the process. We call it smart tanning.”

Amber commented that her mom has always been very hands-on and involved in the business and loves interacting with the customers.

“She treats her employees like they’re her own kids,” Amber said of Kim. “I think that’s a lot of what’s made her successful.”

JoLynn Taylor, a friend of the family and former employee, said Lion in the Sun can cheer up anyone who’s having a bad day.

“It makes people want to come back,” she said. “It’s a fun environment. There’s really good energy here.”

In honor of its 20th anniversary, the business is holding a sale Tuesday through Thursday with some throw-back prices from 1994 and $20 off certain services. During the giveaway, one person will win a year of free tanning.

A special guest is also visiting the business. David McFarland from Performance Brands, a skin fitness and tanning products company, will be stopping by the different locations from Monday through Wednesday to provide free samples to customers and tell them about new products.

For more information, call Lion in the Sun on Morgantown Avenue at 304-363-9333, on Locust Avenue at 304-333-7869, or in Kingmont at 304-366-7869. Customers can also visit or find the business on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Email Jessica Borders at or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

Text Only
  • MM Consulting Services-JB.jpg MM Consulting caters to unique needs

    MM Consulting Services LLC is ready to help clients be successful by catering to their unique needs.
    The “MM” in the name stands for Marianne Moran, who started this Fairmont-based business in January 2013. She offers a wide range of marketing and advertising consulting services.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Organization shows Americans how tax dollars are spent

    Last week, the deadline arrived for citizens across the state and country to pay their 2013 income taxes.
    But how exactly are those federal income tax dollars spent by the government?
    Anyone who has ever pondered this question can turn to the National Priorities Project for a detailed answer.

    April 20, 2014

  • Statewide online directory lets you track local goods

    A new online tool is providing a detailed look into West Virginia’s local food system.
    The West Virginia Food Mapper, a statewide interactive mapping application, was officially finalized and launched in February through a partnership among several entities. Those partners include Downstream Strategies, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and its Meat Processing Working Group, and the West Virginia GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technical Center.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chancelors reopens at new site after devastating fire

    Nothing, not event a devastating fire, can keep Chancelors down.
    At the beginning of March, this family-owned auction business and store opened at its new location beside Premier Body Works, a mile and a half past the Barrackville Covered Bridge.

    April 13, 2014

  • Despite coal decline, West Virginia remains strong in exporting

    Companies throughout West Virginia are bringing new dollars into the economy by exporting.
    The governor’s office recently reported that the state’s exports in 2013 totaled $8.4 billion. This is the third-highest amount of exports that West Virginia has seen in its history.

    April 6, 2014

  • Mannington B&B Wireless offers affordable service

    B&B Wireless is now offering affordable cellphone services to the Mannington area.
    Owner Brad Weaver recently opened this store, which is an nTelos Wireless exclusive retail provider, at 122 Market St. in Mannington. The new business is located beside Hero’s Corner Cafe and shares a building with Fancy Nancy’s Gift Shop.

    April 6, 2014

  • NASA IV&V, TMC play key role in launch of satellite

    A modeling and simulation product developed by the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility and TMC Technologies, both in Fairmont, recently played a key role in launching a satellite off the ground.
    Brandon Bailey is the lab manager of the Jon McBride Software Testing and Research (JSTAR) Laboratory at NASA IV&V.

    March 30, 2014

  • Quality of life focus at White Hall Hearing Care

    White Hall Hearing Care encourages people to do their ears a favor and visit an audiologist.
    Owner Barb Litton Cox, a nationally certified state licensed audiologist, opened her office on March 4 at the White Hall Professional Complex, located at 177 Middletown Road.

    March 30, 2014

  • Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café set Tuesday

    Main Street Fairmont is helping small businesses find opportunities to grow.
    The Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café are scheduled for this Tuesday at Veterans Square, located at 320 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont.

    March 23, 2014

  • Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham opens doors

    The team of the new Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is glad to be in Fairmont.
    The hotel, located at 20 Southland Drive next to the Middletown Mall, officially opened its doors on Friday, March 21. That afternoon, the management team and staff welcomed members of the public to tour the new facility and enjoy lunch during an open house.

    March 23, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads