GROTON — In an age of growing narcissism the concept of personal pampering, which had once been reserved as the province for the rich and the aristocratic, has filtered down into every strata of society.
Over the last 25 years, beauty parlors have morphed into businesses that cater to the desire for self-indulgence epitomized in magazines such as Self and Me.
Beauty parlors became unisex salons and salons became spas, which combined hair care and manicures with massage, mud baths and acupuncture to give patrons a complete wellness experience.
This is the aim of North Chelmsford resident Heather Gray, who is poised to open The Spa of Groton at the new Ridgehill Common building located at the Four Corners intersection of Sandy Pond and Boston roads.
Gray said the concept of the spa goes back to the days of the Roman Empire when people took advantage of natural hot springs to build elaborate resorts. These places featured the earliest systems of underground plumbing and water distribution.
Traditionally, most modern spas have offered only a very specific range of services, but these days a successful spa must offer a full, one-stop shopping experience in order to conform to the busy American lifestyle.
“We’ll offer hair and skin care, manicures and pedicures, and massages,” said Gray. “One side of the building will be for hair and nails and such and the other side will be the spa where massages and skin care such as facials and waxing will take place.”
The Spa of Groton will include seven chairs for hairstyling, four manicure stations, three pedicure stations, and five treatment and massage rooms.
Gray said the services will range in length and types of packages, and she will offer bookings on the hour as well.
“There are a lot of different categories of spas,” said Gray. “We’re a day spa, but there are also wellness spas that may offer massages, acupuncture, sell herbs, etc. Spas that offer more of a holistic approach to all around wellness. Then there are resort spas that can be found in larger hotels that people will go to for the weekend. So there’s a few different kinds. We’re a day spa where people can come in and get services whether it’s only for a half hour or for as long as three hours and then go back home.”
Gray possesses a pair of licenses for nails and skin care and The Spa of Groton will be her initial foray into self-employment.
“This will be a new venture for me,” said Gray, who has worked for four different spas in her eight year career. “I started this project almost three years ago and really wanted to be in Groton.”
Gray said it took a year to find a good location in town and that, since then, her time has been taken up in waiting for the construction of Ridgehill Common to be completed.
“I think it’ll be worth the wait because of the response I’m having from the public,” said Gray. “The interest from the people in Groton has been unbelievable. People are already wanting to book appointments!”
Gray is confident the spa business could weather ups and downs in the economy.
“Usually what happens when the economy is bad is that we sell more gift certificates,” explained Gray.
Gray plans to employ 10 to 15 people at The Spa of Groton, which will begin operations Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The business will occupy 3,500 square feet on the second floor of a newly constructed building at Ridgehill Common and offer services for both men and women. Gray does not plan to include services for children.
“One thing about my business is that it’s definitely going to be decorated,” said Gray. “It’s going to be a fun and retro look with all the treatment rooms decorated in themes from the 1950s to the 1980s and nothing after that. For example, there’ll be a rock and roll treatment room with Elvis blankets, etc., a starry night room and an underwater room. What I’m trying to do with the decorating is to keep it all unisex.”
The grand opening for The Spa of Groton is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 15.
Gray’s immediate plans call for opening her business in time for her self-imposed mid-December date just in time to sell gift certificates for the holidays. Further down the road, she hopes to be open seven days a week and looks forward to being successful enough to open other establishments.
Those interested in learning more about The Spa of Groton, or wishing to inquire about reservations, can visit spaofgroton.com.