Illusions salon, spa continues as two new businesses



JASPER — Illusions Nail-Hair Studio and Day Spa in Jasper was the late Jan Blackgrave’s dream.

The Jasper woman founded the business in 1996 as a nail and hair salon before adding the day spa in 1999 and operated the business until she died from cancer in 2019. Although Blackgrave is gone, her dream continues to thrive through Krystal Luker and Regine Horn, two former employees of Blackgrave who purchased parts of Illusions to keep the business alive. Luker now owns and operates the hair and nail salon portion of the business under the name The Copper Fox, while Horn owns and operates the day spa under Illusions.

“Everything is still the same,” Luker said. “It’s just a little bit different look.”

Luker and Horn remodeled the building — located at 211 E. Sixth St., Jasper — to separate the salon from the spa to create two distinct locations. Other than some new walls, flooring and paint, much remains as it was when Blackgrave owned it. The staff and services are still the same.

“In the beginning I was struggling to imagine how to do any of [the remodel] because I’d lost my friend,” Horn said. “I wanted to keep it hers.”

Although the spa has gotten a new look, Horn has found ways to keep Blackgrave’s presence. A photo of the two women hangs on the wall behind the front desk, and the original entryway rugs with “Illusions Nail Hair Studio Day Spa” printed on the fabric still greet clients as they arrive. One of Blackgrave’s daughters, Halle, is also going to build Horn a new front desk.

Honoring Blackgrave’s memory in the redesign of the spa was important to Horn. When Horn moved to Dubois County three years ago to work for Blackgrave as an esthetician, the two formed a friendship that made Horn feel at home in her new community, and Blackgrave became a mentor for Horn in business, as well.

“I feel her in here everywhere,” said Horn.

Blackgrave’s memory is also alive in The Copper Fox. Many of Blackgrave’s manicure and pedicure clients continue to frequent the salon, so memories often come up in conversation.

“It’s been nice to talk to all her clients and have them still coming in,” Luker said.

The camaraderie between the employees that was built while Blackgrave was alive continues as well, and they’re all happy to be back in the salon after the COVID-19 closures.

As for Blackgrave’s family, they’re happy to see the business Jan founded continue, especially under the leadership of women who knew Jan. Joan Reckelhoff, Blackgrave’s mother, still remembers when Jan founded Illusions.

“We always put nails first [in the name] because that was the primary service,” Reckelhoff said. “That’s what she wanted to do. She wanted to do nails.”

Reckelhoff remembers that Blackgrave was often booked solid, working 12 to 13 hour days during the week. Her daughter didn’t mind though, Reckelhoff said, because the salon was her dream come true.

Now, the business provided a means for Luker to make a lifelong dream of hers come true as well.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” Luker said of owning her own salon.

As for Horn, she never felt the need to own her own business, but letting the spa cease to exist wasn’t an option in her mind.

“I didn’t want it to go away,” she said. “It was important to me to keep it going.”

Business has been a little slow for Horn since reopening after the COVID-19 shutdowns, but she's confident that business will pick up as things continue to open and people get more comfortable venturing out in public. Already, Horn has had people stop by to see the spa post-remodel and make some appointments. It’s a lot of work keeping a business going, Horn said, but she’s glad she decided to take the spa on.

“I didn’t want it to go away,” she said. “It was important to me to keep it going.”

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