WORTHINGTON — The Food-N-Fuel building located at 907 Diagonal Road is now much more than a gas station and convenience store.
Bey’s Beauty Shop, which opened Feb. 1 in a renovated portion of the building that had been previously used for storage, offers hair and nail services. The business represents a dream come true for Thongdy Tonsay, who manages the shop.
“My sister, Somvang, and her husband, Cho — they own the building and the shop, and I run the shop,” Tonsay said. “I love my job and enjoy what I do. It’s true what they say — when you find something you’re passionate about and love doing, it doesn’t feel like work.”
Tonsay, along with her large family, all came to southwest Minnesota from Thailand nearly 20 years ago.
“We came to the U.S. in 1992,” she explained. It was my mom, my dad, my sisters and my brother; they’re six girls and one boy in the family. We settled in Jackson ...my oldest sister came to the U.S. before we did and was there.”
Tonsay moved to Worthington in 1996, when she was in the sixth grade. She eventually received a GED and later attended Avalon School of Cosmetology in Worthington, earning a cosmetology license in 2015.
Then, she received an exciting opportunity from within her family.
“Somvang said if I wanted to pursue this further, I could open up a shop,” Tonsay said of her sister.
So she got her manager’s license, and is now operating a business while also working alongside the youngest of her sisters, Bounmy.
“She's a cosmetologist herself,” Tonsay said of Bounmy. “I also have Mary Haberman; she's right now a receptionist, and she just graduated as a nail tech and will be starting nails after she passed her required test. There’s another one coming; Omar Pintor will be a part-time receptionist who also speaks Spanish, and that will help a lot there. He also does nails … and he's actually graduating next month.”
Tonsay is proud to point out that her business is named in memory of her father, Bey Tonsay. Thus far, that business is off to a strong start.
“Word has been getting out, and we’ve got a lot of regulars who come and get their haircut and people that come over from the gas station,” Tonsay said. “We have a big family, so we have good support there. My niece is at Sayveo’s (in Worthington) and she advertised for us, we have family in the Cities … and I have young family members who are telling their friends at school.”
Tonsay, who has three children — ages 13, 7 and 4 — notes that walk-ins are welcome, but appointments preferred. As customers are not just paying for their nails and hair but also giving their time, she wants to make sure Bey’s Beauty Shop offers the best service it can.
“I want to let people know that the number of customers isn’t as important, and we go by happiness,” Tonsay said. “It’s quality over quantity.”
Tonsay is also thankful for the chance to be her own boss, and for the fact that her kids can come by her place of work and be there if they like. Additionally, she is well aware that she wouldn’t be where she is now without the support of her family,
“I’m very thankful for my family, and very thankful for Somvang and how much she has invested in us,” she added. “I really love my work, and am very grateful for it. Without my family, I wouldn’t be here.
“We work as a family and as a team, and that’s what’s most important. I want everyone to love what I do.”
Bey’s Beauty Shop is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and may be reached at 372-7556. The business may also be found on both Facebook and Instagram.