Biz Beat

What it took for local entrepreneur to open her second shop in downtown Modesto

Turlock woman opens boutique in downtown Modesto

Vanessa Santana opened her second business last month: the Halo B women’s clothing boutique.
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Vanessa Santana opened her second business last month: the Halo B women’s clothing boutique.

Vanessa Santana is way ahead of schedule.

The Turlock resident had a goal to own her own building, as well as multiple businesses, by the time she was in her 40s.

Last year, at age 33, she bought a building in downtown Modesto between Commonwealth restaurant and St. Stan’s Brewery Taproom. And last month she opened her second business — the Halo B women’s clothing boutique — inside part of the space.

The 11th street business is right next door to Santana’s other business, Salon Vanity. Her 2,400-square foot 11th Street building houses both her salon and new boutique.

“I’m just really into supporting the community and shopping small business,” said Santana, who had her first child in April. “People can come in here and buy a shirt, and then go wear that shirt to have drinks somewhere downtown. Or have their hair done next door and have dinner downtown.”

The 2002 Turlock High graduate always has been a bit of an early achiever. She became a hairstylist at 18, was self-employed by age 21 and opened Salon Vanity on 11th Street in 2009, at age 25. But Santana also has an interest in fashion, and had dreamed of having her own boutique since high school.

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Marijke Rowland

Halo B is the culmination of that dream, a small boutique with an open, contemporary feel featuring women’s clothing, accessories and soon some home goods. The shop’s name has multiple meanings, some of which are stenciled onto the wall from the dictionary.

She said the “halo” name reflects her spiritual side in its reference to radiant light. She was also expecting a girl when she named the shop, and had planned to name her Brielle — hence the “B.” But instead she had a boy, named Mason. So now she tells people the “B” also can stand for boy. Or, alternately, the “B” can mean boutique. Really, it’s whatever you want — as long as you feel good coming into and leaving the store.

“I want women to feel like there’s a radiant light on them when they wear my clothes,” Santana said. “I want people to come in here and feel relaxed and that we’re cultivating a lifestyle — not just selling them a product.”

Halo B has everything from casual attire to business wear and evening dresses. Santana said she wanted women to shop there to look nice “without breaking the bank.” Most clothing ranges in price from $24 to about $68. The boutique carries everything from Levi’s jeans to fashions from various Los Angeles showrooms.

The boutique, which opened Nov. 16, is among only a small handful of shops selling clothing downtown. The space also sells jewelry and Santana said she plans to expand into some housewares and other decor.

So now that Santana has accomplished all of her goals for her 40s in her 30s, will she set some new ones.

“I think I want to finally not plan anything,” she said.

Halo B, at 102611th St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information call 209-248-5883 or visit

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Marijke Rowland

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

Looking for a gift that’s both hot and cool?

Modesto’s KHOP is launching its 2019 Central Valley first responders calendar at a public event Wednesday at Urbano California Bistro in downtown Modesto. The calendar features a dozen different local male and female law enforcement, emergency medical technicians and firefighters.

All proceeds from the calendar will benefit the California Fire Foundation, which helps families of fallen firefighters and victims of fires. Calendars are $10 and will be available at the release party and other events.

The party will run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Urbano, 1016 H St. in downtown Modesto. For more information visit

Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland