At a salon in EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Addis Ababa, customer Erica Kanesa relaxes in a leather chair.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just doing manicure and pedicure,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says, leaning her head back while a beautician works on her nails.
Spa businesses in Ethiopia are thriving because the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s middle class is expanding, and also because of the efforts of one man.
Tadios Getaco (should be Getachew) Belete was born in Ethiopia, but Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like many Ã¢â‚¬â€œ he fled in the 1970s when an oppressive communist government took over. He settled in the United States and eventually opened a successful salon in an upscale part of Boston.
After a new Ethiopian government took power, Tadios decided to move home. He says the decision was partly sentimental, but it also made good business sense.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anyone with a good smell of business can feel and sense [that] there is an opportunity here,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tadios says. So he decided to do something that no one in Ethiopia had yet done Ã¢â‚¬â€œ open a luxury spa.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was the first one, and everyone was laughing at me, Ã¢â‚¬ËœYouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll not get any customers,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â he says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But, surprisingly enough, we had an amazing turnout. Now we have about 89 spas.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Today, his company employs more than 1,500 people.
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