By IGOR GURYASHKIN
Inside the hallways of Massage Envy Spa in St. Matthews, there is a hushed ambience. A relaxation room filled with the calming sound of running water is dimly lit and set up to prepare all comers for a session of tranquility before they receive one of lifeâ€™s great pleasures: a therapeutic massage that will likely transport you to the land of slumber and leave the rest of the day a breeze. Knots loosened and worries of the day are regularly kneaded away in the ever-increasingly successful Massage Envy Spa, which now has three branches in the city of Louisville.
Massage Envy Spa is owned and operated by Vycki Goldenberg-Minstein and her brother, Larry Levine, while Marcia Cotner runs the branches in Middletown and J-Town. a franchise venture whose success is evident in the fact that Goldenberg-Minstein and Levine are opening a new branch in Springhurst Towne Center in April.
The company is growing rapidly year over year with close to 1,000 branches nationwide. As for the success, Levine points to the fact that theyâ€™re part of a national company with high standards, which means that not only are their customers regularly satisfied, but that they would be as happy in any other branch.
â€œThe example we like to use is that weâ€™re like a Marriott,â€ Levine says. â€œYou can go to a different city and you donâ€™t have to question what youâ€™ll get from that brand. With us, you can arrive in any city around the country, see a Massage Envy Spa and know youâ€™ll get something thatâ€™s going to make you happy and satisfied.â€
Unlike smaller businesses, Massage Envy can usually fit most customers in as walk-ins or on short notice via appointment, partly because there are over 70 licensed therapists between all the branches specializing in a full array of massages, such as deep-tissue, Swedish, trigger-point, hot stone and pre-natal.
â€œIn this industry itâ€™s typical for folks to call for an appointment and get one a month or two out,â€ Levine says. â€œWe have an edge because when someone wants a massage, typically they wake up and realize they need one, so we can nearly always fit them in.â€
Add to the fact that Massage Envy Spa is open to membership, which gives exclusive access to discounts on treatments and products, and itâ€™s a formula thatâ€™s hard to beat.
Goldenberg-Minstein and Levinesâ€™ forays into the massage industry were simply an extension of the entrepreneurial bug inherited from their grandfather, whose business Fashion Shops of Kentucky was, until a few years ago, open in Louisville and throughout Kentuckiana for 75 years. Now, with the help of their siblings David and Benjamin Levine, they opened their branch in the bustling retail hub of St. Matthews.
â€œWhen Fashion Shops closed, we looked around, and the health and wellness industry was something I became really passionate about, and this was the first industry I saw that potential for growth was a real upside,â€ Levine says. â€œAnd the reality is we grew up in Louisville and we know the market and there is nothing like this in Louisville. There are small local massage therapy places, but not like Massage Envy.â€
Marcia Cotner got the massage bug once she saw how popular the chain was in Phoenix, where she was living at the time. So when it came time to fulfill her dream of opening her own business, she instantly knew her calling.
For now, the owners of Massage Envy Spa are just happy to spread the idea that a massage and spa is no longer an elite pastime, but rather an all-inclusive activity aimed at helping people from all walks of life, whether it serves as a treat or a treatment.
â€œA massage is no longer for the elite or a luxury, itâ€™s for everyone,â€ Cotner says.
â€œWe really make massages affordableâ€ adds Goldenberg-Minstein. First-time visitors can take advantage of an introductory offer of $49 for a massage and $59 for a facial.
â€œThatâ€™s why weâ€™ve become so popular,â€ Levine says. â€œPeople have realized that they can get regular massages at affordable prices for less than what they pay for a cable bill.â€
Massage Envy is located at 4600 Shelbyville Rd., 12911 Shelbyville Rd. and 2048 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. For more information, go to www.massageenvy.com.