What's life like for a husband and wife who own side-by-side businesses — in this case, a European-style bistro and a nail salon, respectively — in downtown Birmingham?
“I was so busy opening the salon that I was on the phone with my contractor while I was in the hospital in labor with our first child,” says Dalis Chan Palushaj, owner of Adore Nails and Spa, which opened in August 2015 at 241 East Merrill St. “Sometimes we look at each other and say, ‘How did we do this?’ ”
While some couples might find such close quarters between home and work an untenable proposition, Zharko and Dalis Palushaj (he’s from Albania, she’s from Cambodia) say they developed a system where each offers suggestions about improving their respective operations, but they don’t delve too deep.
“I actually met Dalis when I got a manicure at her salon,” says Zharko, owner of La Strada at 243 East Merrill St., as well as general manager of Tre Monti Ristorante in Troy. “When I saw these side-byside spaces to rent in Birmingham, it was too big for the restaurant, so I talked Dalis into opening a third salon (she operates VIP Nails and Spa in Royal Oak and Love Nails in West Bloomfield Township).”
After La Strada opened in November, the couple says they each played the role of a customer. “I will say to her, ‘Here’s what I see going on, and here’s an idea that might make things better,’ ” Zharko says.
“Or we might look at what the other is doing with marketing, promotions, or advertising, and offer suggestions,” Dalis says.
“The other thing we do is close on Monday, so we can spend the day together. When they say marriage is a shared relationship, I don’t think they had us in mind.”