A grill is set up for a grand opening at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A grill is set up for a grand opening at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

AK Wellness & Tanning holds grand opening for new location

The expanded location is along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai

A grand opening was held Saturday for AK Wellness & Tanning in a new and expanded location along the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai.

Owner Vanessa Uei said during the event that they offer tanning and a variety of options for red light therapy. In the larger space, they house new equipment that accommodates people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities.

Uei said she’s run the business since 2018. The new building has roughly two dozen rooms — most filled with equipment and ready for visitors, some left empty to allow for further expansion.

A lot of the equipment operated at the facility is German-made, and there aren’t local resources for maintenance and repair, Uei said. So, she’s learned to do the work herself — repairing circuit boards, fans, lamps and otherwise assembling each machine.

The appeal, Uei said, came from her own experience with the product. She was medically discharged from the U.S. Army and red-light therapy was a part of her recovery. Shortly after, her mom, a real estate agent, was approached to sell the tanning salon that Uei ultimately purchased.

“I bought the place and added red light therapy and all the pods and all the wellness aspects,” she said. “I wanted to be able to offer it to other people — help them feel better mentally and physically.”

She said she enjoys walking people through the different services they have available and connecting them to address their needs.

As people were visiting the space for tours, food and giveaways during the grand opening, people were coming in to use the facility.

Opening the new space now behind her, Uei said she felt emboldened by the community support — both by other local businesses and by the turnout for the event. She said she’s excited to continue to build a presence as a member of the local business community as she moves into a new chapter.

For more information, find “AK Wellness & Tanning LLC” on Facebook.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

Equipment sits empty and waiting during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Equipment sits empty and waiting during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Vanessa Uei checks in guests during a grand opening for AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A hallway is lined with rooms and robes at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A hallway is lined with rooms and robes at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Vanessa Uei stands for a photo at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Vanessa Uei stands for a photo at AK Wellness & Tanning in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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