Solona Medspas Files Bankruptcy

The Organge County Register reports that the nationwide Solana chain of 50-plus franchised medical spas has locked its Irvine headquarters, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, shut down its Web site, and disconnected its phone.

Neither the company's chief executive, William Maya, nor its bankruptcy attorney could be reached for comment.

The company founder, John Buckingham of Mission Viejo, said he sold Solana on Nov. 20 to a private equity company in San Clemente and could not speak in detail about its current status.

Buckingham remained a director of the company, which helped entrepreneurs set up medical spas that provided spa services plus non-invasive cosmetic medical procedures such as Botox injections.

As recently as March, Buckingham predicted that the nation's economic slowdown would help Solana MedSpas by freeing up new retail locations for its medical spas.

In an interview with CNN/Money, he said he was "excited about taking advantage of this year's store vacancies to open another 20 locations in malls."

At that point, he said Solana had 50 spas "located in upscale strip centers and lifestyle centers, which are typically open-air malls."

In May, Solana struck a deal with cosmetic-laser company Cutera Inc. of Brisbane, Calif., which declared Solana the "preferred provider" for its products at medspas nationwide.

That announcement said Solana "has sold over 70 stand-alone retail med spas with others scheduled to be opened in 2008" and had established a new division, Solana MD, to open aesthetic spas in doctors' offices.

Solana's filing said it had $370,028 in liabilities but assets of only $11,713.


Solana MedSpa franchises are still listed as for sale on franchising Web sites, with a total investment of $400,000 to $780,000.

The site, for example, says:

Solana MedSpas has forged a new medical spa model by combining cutting-edge aesthetics and wellness technologies with traditional spa therapies in a retail environment.

In a short period of time, Solana MedSpas has become a nationwide leader in medical spa development with a growing network of uniquely branded medical spas. With an emphasis on regulatory compliance, healthcare innovation, education, marketing and customer service, Solana MedSpas has emerged as the fastest growing developer of MedSpas in the US.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing means that the company will be liquidated, not reorganized.


Solana's current owner is Strategic Connections L.P., which is listed in the July 7 bankruptcy filing as "c/o WEM Management Company, 422 Avenida Salvador, San Clemente."

The company's largest listed creditor is its owner, which had floated it a $160,000 loan.

Solana said it had income of $456,989 so far this year from its consulting services to owners and operators of spas.

It paid Maya $161,112 in salary from Nov. 24, 2007, through June 24, the bankruptcy filing said. Buckingham's salary for that period was $148,918.

The one company-owned medical spa, Resolutions, A Solana Medspa, also filed for bankruptcy under its legal name, Solana Medspa Development LLC.

The Resolutions medspa, located in a Rancho Santa Margarita shopping center, closed suddenly two weeks ago without explanation, said a hairdresser working in the adjoining hair salon.

The medspa listed assets of $11,713 and liabilities of $121,329. It cited $0 as the value of its unsold inventory of cosmetics, cosmeceuticals and Botox, which were purchased for $51,388.

Irvine-based Allergan, the maker of Botox, is its largest creditor. The medspa owes Allergan $49,260, the filing said.

The Resolutions spa had income of $225,555 so far this year, its filing said.