Megan Sevart purchased Celsius Tannery – both of them. She was familiar with the stores, after all, having managed both for five years.

About the business: Celsius Tannery, 2412 S.W. Missouri 7 and 1984 N.W. Missouri 7, Blue Springs, 816-224-4826  

About the owner, Megan Sevart: Who says the young can’t hold onto their high school jobs and make a career out of them?

Megan Sevart has proven everyone wrong.

Six years ago she purchased Celsius Tannery – both of them. She was familiar with the stores, after all, having managed both for five years.

Like most, she started small: cleaning the tanning beds before working her way up into management. She was 16 when she started.

“I started young because I needed money for gas,” Sevart said. “But then I fell in love with the industry because when people come in, they want to come in. It’s something people want to do.”

Small businesses sometimes reap big rewards. Meeting people when they’re young and keeping in touch throughout the years is a special reward, Sevart said.

“I’ve watched people in high school who come in then head off to college,” she said. “You get to watch life up close when you run a business.”

About the store and what’s unique: Basic tanning services are offered, as well as beds for people who aren’t especially interested in UV rays. There are also retail items associated with tanning.

But what makes the business unique isn’t so much the businesses themselves but rather the community effort inside them.

“Both of my salons participated in Tan for a Can in the month of November, so we offered free and discounted tanning for clients in exchange for can goods and non-perishable food items,” Sevart said.

“We have two giant Harvesters barrels filled at each salon. It is amazing how generous our clients have been and most of our tanners live right here in our community. I came up with this idea last year and we collected over 600 items last year through the month of November.”

Business staff at Celsius also adopts a local family, going out and purchasing a holiday dinner for each of the families in need.

“Instead of taking our staff out for a fancy holiday dinner, all staff members go shopping together for the family in need, then we go back to my house, order pizza, wrap gifts and deliver them to the family,” she said. “It has been a big hit with employees.”

This year the staff decided to adopt a young single mom and her daughter who had left Mother’s Refuge and was now on her own, taking care of her infant daughter.

“This young mom had completed the program,” Sevart said, “and was a wonderful mother and was working very hard to provide for her daughter.”

During the last week in November, the store created an adopt-a-family tree with paper ornaments covering the trees at both salons with items this young mom and her baby needed and wanted for Christmas.

Clients were asked to bring back an item from the tree in exchange for two free weeks of tanning or two free upgrades if they are already a current member.

What’s in store for the future? “We’re looking at new equipment and any other way we can continue to give back to the community,” Sevart said.

Check with the store for daily and weekly specials.

Store hours: Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday: 9 am. to 8 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.