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Woodhouse Day Spa experiences growth, development throughout its 10 years

By ALLISON MILES
Nov. 17, 2011 at 5:17 a.m.

Jeni Garrett, center, owner of Woodhouse Day Spa, laughs with Karen Lassmann, left, and Roxanne Miller, as she tells them about the complimentary  services that are offered during the 10-year anniversary event Thursday.

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For more information on Woodhouse Day Spas, visit victoria.woodhousespas.com.

Ten years back, Woodhouse Day Spa was a fledgling business just setting down roots at its first-ever location.

Today, it's a growing empire with a couple of hundred spas in development worldwide.

And it all started in Victoria.

Woodhouse was born at a time when the spa industry was fragmented, said Jeni Garrett, the business' founder and CEO. Most people associated such treatments with hair salons and the like, she explained.

"When I went to the bank for a loan, no one knew what a day spa was," she said with a smile. "I had to explain it to my husband."

Regardless, Garrett said Victoria embraced the concept and the flagship location, 609 N. Wheeler St., opened Sept. 29, 2001.

She said she worried about opening a business during the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but found that people wanted the relaxation and relief spa services offered.

The goal all along was to change people's perceptions of the industry from luxury treatments they might indulge in once in a while to a necessity for their wellness, Garrett said. Treatments not only assist in relaxation, but can also aid in things such as detoxification and lymphotic draining.

Penni Gietz has been a Woodhouse client for all of its 10 years, taking in pedicures, manicures and facials whenever she gets the chance. She said she visits the spa at least every couple of weeks, and said the treatments are therapeutic.

"It's good to have something like this here," the Victoria resident said. "It's a real asset to our community."

Angelica Farias has worked with the company since its start, first in the Victoria spa with Garrett, and now as director of communication and training.

She said she remembers attending an Austin trade show where Woodhouse sold its first franchise. She still enjoys doing what she does.

"It makes me feel good coming into work, knowing we're going to be helping people," she said. "It's nice to be a part of something. A team."

In the years since it first opened, Woodhouse forged on, increasing not only its services, but also its locations.

Although the company has about 30 locations, within 10 years that number will reach nearly 280, with spas planned not only throughout the United States, but also in China, India, Canada and Mexico.

The company celebrated its 10th anniversary Thursday at its flagship spa.

Garrett attributed much of the company's success to the staff, many of whom have been with Woodhouse since its beginning, and the brand it honed through the years.

The way it went about development also helped, she said.

"The first 10 years of Woodhouse was all about setting the foundation," she said, explaining some companies start out already with plans to expand into other markets. "The next 10 will be about development."

There are benefits to keeping the company grounded in its small-town beginnings.

It's cheaper to run a business from Victoria than in a larger city, Garrett said, and you can't beat the commute. She lives about a minute away from the corporate office at the top of One O'Connor Plaza and, on most days, walks to work.

Support from the community is another bonus.

"If Victoria hadn't embraced it," she said, "I don't think we'd be where we are."

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