By Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Tropical Tanning in downtown Charlotte is celebrating its 35th year in business. Owner Ken Wirt attributes its longevity to offering quality service from trained and courteous staff. They have invested in high-grade and industry-standard products as part of their commitment to quality to their customers.

Tropical Tanning staff receive Smart Tan training, Wirt explained, which teaches them the facts about UV light, how tanning works, salon sanitation and how to tan customers effectively. The training promotes the importance of being both a responsible tanner and a responsible staff person.

It’s important to stick to the proper tanning time and to avoid burning, Wirt said, as ill-effects come from over-doing the tanning time.

Their clients are multi-generational, Wirt added. Grandparents, parents and now their children have all been their tanning clients over the years. They come back due to the good service they receive and the excellent employees, he explained.

When Wirt first bought the circa-1900 building, they stripped it down to the bricks and remodeled it for a second-floor tanning salon. This required adding the missing stairs to access the second floor. Originally, they opened a clothing store, Country Wardrobe, downstairs and the tanning upstairs. As business picked up for the tanning business, they discontinued the clothing store and added more beds to the ground floor to increase the capacity.

With 17 beds, there is usually no waiting to tan. They welcome walk-in clients.

As part of their anniversary celebration, Tropical Tanning is having a drawing for two one-month tanning packages, with the drawings being held on Tuesday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 10. To enter the drawing, like, share or comment “Happy Anniversary” on their Facebook page.

Wirt said there are many benefits to tanning, in addition to the appearance factor. Wirt feels it can help you relax and can aid the “winter blues,” or seasonal depression, along with psoriasis, and some bone pain.

“It’s great for your attitude, too,” he added.

Tropical Tanning offers four levels of membership — gold, titanium, platinum and platinum plus. They offer lotion and package deals and promise the best results in a timely fashion.

Their seasonal hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday they are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tropical Tanning is located at 108 S. Cochran, next to Carl Reck Jewelers. For more information, visit Tropical Tanning on Facebook or their website at


Photo by Deb Malewski

Tropical Tanning owner Ken Wirt attributes the company’s longevity to offering quality service from trained and courteous staff.