Spa Talk with Garrett Mersberger From Kohler Waters Spa

Garrett Mersberger

Meet Garrett Mersberger, a 20-year veteran in the spa industry and the director of wellness at Kohler Waters Spa. 

 

What was the path that led you into the spa industry?

FREE BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to Spa Talk!

Get up close and personal with industry professionals with Spa Talk, the go-to news source for getting to know industry colleagues and friends. Sign up today to get bi-weekly top stories delivered straight to your inbox and read on the go.

I started out in marketing, handling all the advertising and marketing needs for our resorts, spas, and golf courses. After doing that for 10 years, I had a hunger to move into operations and took over Kohler’s 100,000-square-feet fitness facility. After doing that for two years, I moved to Texas to become the general manager of a private golf country club. Two years later, I returned to Kohler to manage the spas and have done so ever since. I had a great mentor over the past six years, Jean Kolb, an icon in the spa industry. She is another reason for my path into the spa industry and continues to be a great friend and mentor today.

What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the spa industry?
Staffing can be the hardest challenge within the industry. ISPA’s latest study showed that we have more than 38,000 open positions in the spa industry. It’s hard to grow your business without staff. The most rewarding part of the industry is also the staff. There is not a more loving, giving, rewarding industry to work in outside the spa. 

What has surprised you most about the spa world?
Most surprising is how quickly this industry has grown in the past five years. Spa and wellness are now words you hear every day and everywhere. People are more educated now and understand that spa is not just a place to go for pampering. It’s a place to go for wellness, for healing, for recovery, for energy, for increased productivity, for balance.

Where do you think the industry is heading?
We have a bright future ahead, if, and that’s a big if, we can overcome the staffing shortage. Demand is there. Supply is not.

What is the most bizarre treatment you’ve experienced?
Cupping. Loved it. Not Painful. Very detoxifying.

What new treatment would you like to try?
Floating. Have never done it and need to soon.

What’s your go-to treatment?
Anything with the Vichy shower. In Wisconsin, we have cold, dry winters. The more exfoliating, hydrating, and warm water that I can experience, the better.

What two things about you don’t we know?
I was once fluent in Mandarin, and I was recently elected chairman of the ISPA board of directors.

If you could work in any other profession in the world, what would it be?
Golf

How would you sum up your personal philosophy?
Balance. I am at my best when I am balanced. Work. Family. Self. Faith.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.

RELATED STORIES

Garrett Mersberger Replaces Todd Shaw as ISPA Chairman

ISPA Announces 2018 Board of Directors

ISPA Foundation Announces New Workforce Study

Suggested Articles

American Spa visited Julie Lindh's NYC spa to try out the CBD Super Beauty Facial. Here's how it went.

Forbes has named eight five-star spas and 21 four-star spas in its 2019 Forbes Travel Guide.

If your IT department is still spending time on upgrades, fixes, and security concerns, it’s time to reconsider your setup so they can devote time to more…