Sara Saferstein, owner of A La Mode Boutique & Nail Spa, gives us the dish on beauty, the joys of big, extended family and the trials of making gefilte fish from scratch.
Are you from the Twin Cities originally?
No, I grew up in Colorado, right in Denver.
What was the Jewish community in Denver like?
I would say the Jewish Community in Denver is similar to Minneapolis. We had a tight community. My grandfather founded a traditional synagogue there, Beth Joseph. BJ was the center of my Jewish identity.
Unfortunately,traditional Judaism doesn’t really exist anymore. My grandfather founded the synagogue so that he could sit with his wife while still being part of a traditionally orthodox service. Years ago it had to merge with another traditional synagogue in order for both congregations to continue. I was fortunate that my wedding almost 20 years ago was one of the last weddings to take place in the sanctuary that I grew up in.
What brought you to the Twin Cities?
My husband and I both had job opportunities here. We spent a year in Florida after we married and we knew we wanted a change. Then, we both had job opportunities in Minneapolis. This coming summer, it will be 19 years since we became Minnesotans.
You’re the owner of A la Mode Nails in Edina and Wayzata. When did you open the business?
I opened my Edina location in December 2013 and Wayzata in May of this year.
Were you always interested in beauty?
I grew up with my father and grandfather involved in a retail business. My business partner, my first cousin, has been involved in the beauty business for almost 40 years. I worked for him in high school and college. After college, I was involved in retail focusing on product development, trend forecasting, and international sourcing. A La Mode Boutique and Nail Spa blends both of our strengths and passions together.
What sets your nails salons apart?
We focus on only natural nails. We have no harsh chemicals on our property.
In addition to nails, we have created an extensive fashion and home décor boutique. Our nail service prices are competitive; you do not need to spend more to have your nails done in a boutique environment.
What’s your favorite treatment?
I would say, it’s the basic signature manicure and pedicure. We have a number of custom touches including a finishing mist. All of our services include a body butter and sugar scrub.
What’s your favorite holiday?
I would probably say Rosh Hashanah is my favorite holiday. For me, it’s about family and reminds me of my childhood growing up surrounded by all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Do you have favorite Jewish food?
I have two. My mom used to make applesauce cake. I don’t know if it’s a traditional Jewish food, but we had it for holidays. It was covered in chocolate chips and brown sugar. My mom would also make gefilte fish from scratch every year. She had to mix it in a huge bowl; the fish was kept cold so she had to wear layers of gloves to keep her hands warm. She had the art of making fresh gefilte fish perfected.
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