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Business

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At a glance
•Over the last decade, the number of spa locations has grown from 4,140 to 19,900.
•In 2010, there were 150 million spa visits in the U.S., an increase of 4.7 percent compared to the previous year.
•Over the last decade, spa revenue has grown from $5 billion to $12.8 billion.
•As of May 2011, there were 338,600 total employees, a 2 percent increase compared to the previous year.
Source: International Spa Association
Rejuva Med Spa offers myriad treatment options.

Spas discover that adding advanced services bolsters the bottom line

Photos by Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette
Dr. Robert Severinac with aesthetician Becky Gall treat a patient at Rejuva Med Spa, 10020 Dupont Circle Court.

– They are super spas.

The days of only a massage, facial or pedicure are gone. These days, spa staffers offer skin rejuvenation techniques, non-invasive body-sculpting and age-spot removal.

Those advanced services boost bottom lines.

The International Spa Association of Lexington, Ky., reports that the industry generated $12.8 billion in 2010, a 4.3 percent increase from the previous year. The number of spa visits reached 150 million as of 2010, up from 90.7 million in 2000.

So it seems that people need more pampering – and makeovers.

"When they come in, you can just look at them and tell they're stressed out," said Steve Lauterberg, manager of The Forum Salon & Day Spa, 1517 W. Dupont Road. "The way it is with two-income families, people just need to relax and unwind because things are so hectic."

But patrons are becoming more selective in the types of services they're willing to pay for. For instance, Lauterberg said instead of buying acrylic nails – and the ensuing "nail refills" – "people are taking care of their own nails."

"It's a little bit less expensive," he said.

But there are folks out there with disposable income, Lauterberg quickly added.

"The baby boomers are retired now and have the time and money to tend to themselves," he said. "They are looking for anti-aging facial products and things like that."

Based on census figures, by 2030, about one in five Americans – about 72 million people – will be 65 or older.

Recognizing the profit potential, some spa establishments may be making false fountain-of-youth promises, local owners said.

"There are some in strip malls and you really have to be careful of someone promising a (faux) facelift because it probably won't work," said Robert Severinac, a plastic surgeon who oversees Rejuva Med Spa, 10020 Dupont Circle Court.

"I'd take a real close look at something like that" before committing.

Spas that offer advanced facial services should have a physician or someone with related medical training as a director, Severinac said.

"A plastic surgeon, a dermatologist; someone that understands and knows about the skin," he said. "It can get a little flaky out there."

The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency is the governing body over many of the services offered by day spas.

For example, an esthetician, who performs various skin enhancements, must be at least 18 years old, have 700 hours of training at a cosmetology school and score at least 70 percent on written and practical licensing examinations.

Since 2009 the number of esthetician salons has grown steadily from 158 to 280 this year – a more than 77 percent increase, the state licensing agency reports.

And 3,400 spas are in the north central region, which according to the International Spa Association includes Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.

As for Rejuva Spa, it offers skin replenishing, spider-vein removal and other non-invasive procedures that can cost $300 to $600, depending on the number of treatments.

Not "going under the knife" is a draw for many people, said Sarah Lindemann, owner of Woodhouse Day Spa, 6388 W. Jefferson Blvd. The business recently partnered with Plastic Surgery Innovations to provide laser hair removal, skin tightening, body-sculpting and liposuction at her southwest Fort Wayne location. "Coming together like this allows them to do what they do best, while letting us do what we do best," she said.

Lindemann said her business's body massages, manicures and typical spa features are enhanced by the joint venture with Plastic Surgery Innovations.

None of this surprises International Spa Association President Lynne McNees. There are 1,730 medical spas in the nation that make up 8.7 percent of the industry, she said.

"While the ISPA study reveals a slight decrease in the total number of spa operations in the U.S., an increase in spa visits, revenue and the total number of employees indicate the spa industry is recovering from the impact of the recession at a moderate pace," she said in an email.

Maybe so, but Bluffton nanny Caitleigh Kaehr says unless she receives a spa gift card don't count her as a regular customer.

"I went once, but I just think there's a better way to spend your money," the 20-year-old said. "I got a pedicure and I enjoyed it, but even that was a gift to me."

Others in her demographic, however, aren't so frugal, Lauterberg said.

"Younger people are coming in because they realize that it's better to take care of your skin now instead of waiting when you're older and it's damaged from the sun," he said. "Today's generation is more savvy and they know that days of laying out in the sun isn't good for your skin."

pwyche@jg.net

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