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Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With ... Allyson Kennedy

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Tell us about Acacia Spa.
I opened Acacia Spa in 2004. We offer an escape for people to come and relax, and also see some therapeutic results. All of our technicians provide a relaxing service as well as a service in which the person notices results – for example, clinical skin care (and) therapeutic massage for different problems with their body. Whether it’s sitting at a desk and typing at a computer or standing on their feet, a massage therapist can help them. There are 10 people who work here, either full- or part-time. Our service prices range from $8 for some waxing to a $375 microdermabrasion package.

What’s your client demographic?
We have a higher-end demographic that typically comes to us. But we’re finding that other people are coming out and trying the spa. People are becoming educated that it’s not just a treat. It’s actually good for them, and it can help them do a better job at work because they’re more relaxed. … We have a lot of men executives who come in for manicures and pedicures. We do have corporations that send people (or) do Christmas parties and different things for employee benefits. They might reward employees with a massage, facial or gift card to the spa. We’re on CoxHealth’s employee discount card … and we do work a lot with St. John’s corporate health, for some of their activities and events, such as the Totally Healthy Women’s retreat.

Given that some people consider spa treatments a luxury, has the recession hurt Acacia Spa?
I think a lot of spas have suffered in this economy (but) we have very loyal customers. Because of the service we provide, we’ve been able to retain our clients and the business is doing very well. … A lot of our executives and clients rebook when they’re here or have standing appointments with us. It depends on the service, but a lot of times it’s weekly, every two weeks or every month.  Also, in this economy, people don’t go on their $10,000 vacations, and instead, they may take a family member and plan a spa day.

What led to the opening of Acacia Spa?
Straight out of Drury, I went to work at Prime Trucking, in sales. I worked my way up in the corporate world for about 11 years there, and I got the point where I was ready to do something for myself.

My husband is a musician, and every day he does what he absolutely loves to do. I was at a point in my career where I was kind of burned out. I wanted to have a family, and I’d been working 80 hours a week and decided to quit, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. He said, “Think about something you like.” I love receiving facials and massages and going to the spa … so he said, “Let’s look into you doing facials.” We went and looked at schools that week. And here I am.

What’s your role with the company?
As an aesthetician, I can do anything that benefits the health of the skin. I am licensed to do relaxation massages, but we employ very good massage technicians and tend to have aestheticians focus on the aesthetics. I’m with clients full time, and I have some long days so I can work on the business end of the spa. I try to multitask and handle things in between clients. It’s a challenge, but we have good people here who all work well together. My husband, Richard, handles a lot of our information technology work.

What do you do for relaxation?
I like to travel, and when I do, I like to go to spas and get ideas and to experience new things in larger cities.

What are some ideas you’ve brought to Springfield?
We most recently purchased a microcurrent machine in Las Vegas a few weeks ago when I went there for some continuing education. We’re going to be able to offer nonsurgical facelifts, the BT Cocktail Lift.
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