Starting with a small massage practice out of her home in 2004, Wendy Lindsay found herself in a position to grow her business just one year later when she moved the practice to a small house in Ely, MN, and hired a receptionist and another massage therapist. Two years later, she opened The Pebble Spa Company in Virginia, MN. And in 2009, when the Ely spa grew too large for its location, Lindsay and her husband bought a 10,000-square-foot building to house the growing spa and its retail selections. Today, the two spas in the heart of the Northern Woods feature rustic log exteriors, cozy fireplaces, and warm color schemes. The Virginia location features seven treatment rooms, and the Ely spa has nine. With 32 employees on staff, the spas have established themselves as an important part of the community. Here, Lindsay shares how she and her team keep spa-goers coming back for more.
How has The Pebble Spa Company continued to succeed over the years?
A. Our guests come first. No matter what, we do everything we can to ensure they have the best spa experience ever. Every staff member has the power to do what it takes to make sure this happens.
What makes the spas successful?
A. We have an amazing team. We are passionate about our staff, and they, in turn, are passionate about what they do. I think it is so important for people to feel appreciated. We make it a point to constantly show our staff members how much they are appreciated by writing them notes of thanks and giving them small gifts, special discounts, and treats. Our staff is also multi-trained. Massage therapists know how to sell retail, and our retail staff knows how to do many of the spa treatments, so we always have a crossover of knowledge and coverage, if needed.
How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. Our two spa locations have very different client bases. Our Ely spa is mainly driven by tourists, whereas our Virginia spa is driven by locals. For our Ely location, we distribute brochures everywhere—in all of the lodges, restaurants, and more. You can’t visit Ely without seeing our name somewhere. We are also very involved in our communities. We have found that our Virginia spa experiences huge spikes when any discounts or specials are offered. We also have a membership program in which folks can purchase a six- or 12-month membership and receive their choice of massage or facial along with many other perks each month. Both of our spas are in small, tight-knit towns, where being supportive of the community is so important.
How do you use digital marketing and social media to boost business?
A. Our Facebook posts are huge draws for our businesses. I think it’s safe to say that 50 percent of our business comes from Facebook posts. We have large retail stores in both of these locations, which carry body products, clothing, shoes, gifts, and home goods. Our Facebook posts lend a large part to additional retail sales.
How do you keep the menu fresh and enticing?
A. We offer a special feature every month, something highlighting a new or yummy product that isn’t on our regular menu. We also offer monthly specials on one or two of our treatments that folks might not otherwise try. This has proven to be a huge success in increasing the numbers of these treatments each month. In addition, we offer an upsell with each treatment, such as a body-brush exfoliation, an orange-vanilla cream lotion application, and a foot soak. These change seasonally.
To what do you attribute the spa’s success?
A. We all work really hard at being a team. A business can’t run successfully with only one person. We all have various talents that, when put together, create a super power. We appreciate each other and the talents each brings to the table.
What plans do you have for the future?
A. We are in the process of creating an online store for our clothing and merchandise along with our bodycare line and a complete life-makeover blog focusing on helping people become their best selves. We’re also building a yoga studio and training space center this next spring at our Ely location. Under the same roof, we have an event-coordinating business. We are also putting together community programming that will feature events and classes focused on helping clients live happy and healthy lives.