It has been sitting vacant on the busiest street in Fountain Valley for more than seven years. The blue, tattered roof and boarded-up windows are a mere 700 yards from City Hall. Neighbors behind the ugly structure have wondered for years if the building would ever be habitated again.
That could all change soon at 17271 Brookhurst St., known to residents as the eyesore between Del Taco and KFC. The building previously had been a Vietnamese restaurant.
Owner Aimy Nguyen says she is excited to bring her skin care business to Fountain Valley after opening stores in Garden Grove and Irvine. She says the location is perfect and the city has been an "oasis" for her family since immigrating from Vietnam many years ago.
"They have always called Orange County their home," Nguyen said of her parents. "We have lived forever in Huntington Beach, but Fountain Valley has always seemed more homogeneous, more family oriented, more quiet, well planned and small enough. So when an opportunity arose for an empty building there, and with the right location because it's between Long Beach and Mission Viejoand is close to the freeway, we thought it would be a great location. We think we will fit in great."
The business offers mostly skin care treatment and products, but there also is a medical and cosmetic component. Nguyen said there is a dermatologist on site and they will offer various medical services and medical expertise from a physician (who happens to be her husband and co-owner, Tien Nguyen) to solve any skin care problems.
Nguyen, who is a certified nurse, said they plan to cater to the everyday man and woman who may not have much money but still have skin care needs.
"We aren't fancy and expensive, but there are things that you can do to treat your skin and your health with things like supplements, nutritional products, skin care products and sunscreens. Our products help protect and moisturize the skin, getting rid of the inflamation and irritation you get from the toxic environment we are living in."
The words "belle" and "amie" are French for "beautiful love." Nguyen said she came up with the name from a king of France, Louis the XV, whose nickname was the masculine version, "le Bien-Aimee ("the Beloved") because he was so well loved by his people.
"A woman should be beautiful and cherished by whomever she is with. Being cherished and being loved is the idea behind the name," Nguyen said. "Whatever we are doing we want to make sure that the woman is going to be beautiful and loved and cherished. We thought the name fit because what's better than a king's nickname? The queen exists in all the women using our products."
She added, laughing, "It is just a coincidence that my name is Aimy."
For now, Belle-Aime is pending approval from the city for renovation. Once it has been approved then construction can begin, Nguyen said.
"It all depends on the city now," Nguyen said. "I have no problem getting contractors and people to help me with that side, but I don't know what the key factor is with getting city approval. Hopefully we can come to Fountain Valley and offer our services to the community."
NOTE: The City Planning Commission will meet tonight, 6:30 p.m., at City Hall. This item is not on the agenda.