The road to Lori Strantz's Spa Essence is neither straight nor flat. Winding through the woods over little dips in the terrain, the short journey often mirrors Strantz's own life. But clients who visit and Strantz herself, have found pleasant surprises at the end of the road.
"Health and wellness have always been priorities for me," Strantz said. "I feel as though I am doing something important for my clients, helping them feel good. I am enjoying what I do both in my personal life and professional career. It's a wonderful feeling."
Strantz has every reason to rejoice in her life: She is a survivor of colon cancer. Today, Strantz is fully recovered, but her experiences have changed her priorities. "My philosophy has changed," she said. "My perspective on life is very different. I live life in the moment, and don't worry about the little things any more. One of the reasons I opened the spa is to help people through my own personal experiences."
A native of Portland, Ore., Strantz moved to Wisconsin at the age of 13, and attended high school in Park Falls. Moving to Minnesota to continue her education, she earned a degree in human resources. Now, she is devoting her energies to providing services that enrich and enhance the lives of people around her. As a certified fitness trainer, Strantz said she emphasizes "good nutrition, regular exercise and stress management as goals for healthy lifestyles." After earning her certification as a massage therapist, Strantz went to work for a friend. While working with her clients, Strantz formulated a plan for her own spa.
"I knew exactly what I wanted: a spa where each of the services has its specific area, and don't conflict with each other," she said. "The 'flow' of the spa is essential to clients' satisfaction."
Returning to Wisconsin in December 1999, Strantz and her husband, Pat, a builder, put their dreams in motion. "We moved here to start our own businesses," Strantz said. "It was an opportunity to do exactly what we wanted, the way we wanted."
For the first five years after relocating, the couple pursued their separate careers. Lori first opened a spa in Egg Harbor, where 10 staff members assisted her. Within three years, she moved to downtown Fish Creek and opened Lori's Spa without the benefit of staff. "I wanted to downsize and go it alone," she said. "It was very personal. I became familiar with all of my clients and really got to know them."
As her business continued to flourish and grow, Strantz prepared to build her own facility on a quiet secluded property in rural Fish Creek. "I designed the spa, and Pat built it," Strantz said. "After all the years of experience, I knew exactly what I wanted. I'm very proud of this space, and very proud that my husband built it."
The business had to close for only two weeks while Strantz made the transition to the new location for a July 1, 2005 opening.
Living adjacent to the spa is a bonus. "Living and working in the same location is so convenient, and really reduces my stress," Strantz said. "I can walk from my home into my work space in a matter of minutes. I have the personal freedom to schedule my clients around my family life. It works so well for me."
Qualified to perform all spa services, Strantz is a certified Pilates instructor with "Stott" Pilates training. She explained: "Stott Pilates is a more refined Pilates method with details in movement that keep the body safer."
Concentrating on her clients' needs, Strantz utilizes a natural, balanced line of products designed to meet her specifications - a private label line was developed specifically for her spa. Special services included on her menu are dual pedicures - "popular for weddings," she said - manicures and a variety of massage and body therapies.
Tucked away like a secret garden of spa delights, Strantz described Lori's Spa Essence as "the place where nature meets luxury,' and where I treat my clients like friends - I'm very social and my door is open."
Lori's Spa Essence is located at 3290 Gibraltar Road, P.O. Box 488, Fish Creek, WI 54212. For details, contact the spa at 920-868-9493 or visit the Website: www.lorisspaessence.com.
There is an idea born of good will that stems from a selfless act of courtesy from one human being to another. The idea is that when a person performs some act of unprovoked kindness to another person, the latter will be such affected that they will be inclined to naturally perform some kindness to the next unsuspecting individual. This is why I write to you today. I wish to share my small part of Door County with you.
Nestled on a hill in downtown Fish Creek a few steps off the sidewalk are a group of shops and friends called "Fred's Backyard." Here you will find a little bit of everything from a spa on one end to a barber salon on the other. In between are a jewelry and gift boutique, a clothing store, and a bistro providing food and coffee. Throughout is an atmosphere of friendly and caring customer service from hardworking individuals fortunate enough to own a business and lucky enough to be grouped together. At the end of a day comes the sense of fulfillment of running one's own business and the sense of family from a wonderful group of "co-workers."
After the quick but intense July and August months comes the quieter more reflective weekdays of September and October, a time when it's not just about the customer but also the worker. This is when we all venture out of the cocoon that is our respective jobs and begin to take more time for ourselves again.
On Wednesday, September 17, 2004, Lori Strantz of Lori's Spa hosted a much-anticipated complimentary night of physical and mental healing for the owners and employees of Fred's Backyard. In attendance were Eric Rasmusson and myself of Blue Horse Bistro & Espresso, Leila Haney of Just Plain Fancy, Dawn Massad and Britta Nelson of The Edge Barbersalon, and friend Daryl Capelle of the Thorpe-House - it was a cocktail party with friends and perks. While drinking wine and eating appetizers grilled up by Eric, Lori skillfully smoothed out tired muscles during her chair massage, pampered swollen aching feet with her peppermint pedicure, and soothed tired hands with her lavender hand treatments. Surrounded by the spa's warm and inviting log cabin atmosphere we reflected on the excitement of summer while our smooth feet tingled, our soft hands relaxed, and our happy muscles sighed.
This act of kindness on behalf of Lori was not only fun and rejuvenating (not to mention a good excuse to have a party), but there's something to be said about a smile being contagious; I hope this is and will be my contribution.