By Courtney Loftin

Stars align to bring the vision for this salon to light.

Lavish Salon and Spa is a gem nestled on a historic block of downtown Rock Island, just steps away from our local theaters and favorite restaurants. Maybe you’ve noticed it’s modern and elegant design as you drive or walk through downtown.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with owner Amy Gibbs, and Master Stylist Sara Nitz to discuss how Lavish Salon and Spa came to be, what their experiences have been downtown Rock Island, and their plans for the future. Amy Gibbs grew up in Cordova, Illinois where she went to high school before going off to college at Illinois State. It was there, in here first year, that she made an important decision for her career, “I always wanted to do hair” Amy says, “but thought I could go to school and get a business degree, but it wasn’t my thing. The classes weren’t my thing.”

Realizing the value of her time and that her passions lay elsewhere, Amy signed up for classes at La James in East Moline and skirted the traditional college route. After graduating from La James, Amy worked with a salon in Moline for 7 years, what she recalls as “an amazing experience, where I got to work with Paul Mitchell educators.” It was at another salon downtown Rock Island, that Amy and two other stylists came together to form the Lavish dream team. Amy, Rahil and Sara met, working as stylists together. They worked side by side for four years before deciding to venture off on their own.

“The three of us, were just ready for a change and an opportunity came in this building,” Amy says. It was Thanksgiving Weekend of 2014 when they first looked at the location that would be Lavish Salon. In what was once a convenience store and then a lawyer’s office they saw the potential for a salon.

“It was a complete renovation” Sara says, explaining how walls had to be taken down to open up to what
is now styling stations and a color bar for hand crafting the perfect hair colors for their clients right in front of them.
Their team had the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to making their vision come to life. “We worked all day 10am-8pm and came here every night of every day and worked for hours, and every weekend!” Sara explains.

All of their handwork isn’t totally visible either if you were just passing by. Amy and Sara weren’t at all shocked by my reaction when they gave me the tour of their retreat and washroom. ‘Oh my gosh, this is so much bigger than I thought!’ is something they hear all the time. After the tour of their gorgeous salon, I sat down again with them for all the details.

Have you always wanted to own your own salon?
A: “Actually, no. I was happy where I was at each stage, and by the time we saw this space I felt ready.”

What would you say makes Lavish a unique salon?
S: “It’s like working with your best friend here, which gives it a very cozy, at home feeling.”
A: “We are very personable— everyone interacts with each other, and everyone is made to feel welcome here. We also have the retreat in the back where we have spray tanning, lash extensions and lash curling.”

What’s next for Lavish?
A: We are in the process of adding a new styling station and will be
re-doing the waiting area. We also do bridal packages for hair & makeup, both in-store and onsite, and we are looking to expand on that as well. “

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: “Have a good team that you work well with, because that is everything.”
A favorite sidetone about Lavish is that they are also dog friendly! That is a win in my book. Lavish Salon is such a wonderful presence in Downtown Rock Island and we should consider ourselves lucky to have such a great team of people!

For more information on Lavish at 1806 3rd Ave, Rock Island, you can visit their website at or call 309-283-7160.