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Woodhouse Day Spa plans new locations for 2014

By ALLISON MILES
Jan. 4, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 3, 2014 at 7:04 p.m.

Courtney Haschke, 34, nail technician and esthetician, performs a manicure on the toes of a customer at Woodhouse Day Spa in Victoria.

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For more information about Woodhouse Day Spa, visit the company's Facebook page or its website at woodhousespas.com.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2011, people nationwide made 156 million spa visits.

The United States plays home to an estimated 20,774 spas, with day spas making up the majority, at 78.9 percent.

Source: IBISWorld news release

With 2013 a thing of the past and a new year just now underway, many people throughout the Crossroads find themselves setting goals for the coming year.

Still, it doesn't end with individuals.

One Victoria spa chain has its own resolutions in the works.

Woodhouse Day Spa plans to grow in 2014, adding 20 new locations to the mix, said Jeni Garrett, the company's founder, president and CEO.

"In franchising, having 50 locations is a kind of sweet spot," she said of the chain, which already includes 40 spas domestically. "In 2014, we'll surpass that."

New locations include a boutique hotel in Quebec, Canada, she said, among others. Meanwhile, the franchise has 205 new sites under contract to open within the next five to 10 years.

"We've never been a fearful company," Garrett said of the endeavor, which got off the ground in 2001 at 609 N. Wheeler St. "We're definitely excited about the growth, but with what we're all about, it's quality, not quantity."

New concepts are also in their beginning stages, Garrett said, explaining that teams are considering airport locations. In December, Woodhouse also opened a spa inside New Orleans' Ochsner Medical Center.

As medical centers adjust to the Affordable Care Act, they're becoming more competitive, she said.

"They want to offer those key differentiators like coffee shops and spas," Garrett explained. "We're in the test phase, but it's a new concept that could grow legs."

The spa industry as a whole is on an upward track, according to a news release issued by IBISWorld, a company that describes itself as "the largest provider of industry information in the U.S."

Improving economic conditions will lead the $14.7 billion industry to accelerated growth through 2018, according to the release.

Health and wellness spas experienced double-digit growth during the mid-2000s, according to the write-up, but revenue dropped in 2009 with the economic recession. In the years since, as disposable income and consumer confidence improved, so did the industry.

Franchise expansion isn't Woodhouse's sole focus for the coming year.

Garrett said she plans to push domestic growth with hopes that Woodhouse can exceed the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.'s level of customer service.

She said she also hopes to add new honors to the company's list of awards, which already includes recognition as Favorite Multiple Location Spa and Favorite Day Spa by American Spa Magazine, Best Website by DaySpa Magazine and other awards.

This year, she said, the goal is to focus on the spa's No. 1 customers, its team members and to cinch the win as Forbes' "Best Companies to Work For" for both the franchise and its locations.

Already, she said, a new wellness program has raw juices delivered to Woodhouse employees daily. Twice-a-week yoga classes, complementary spa services and Dave Ramsey financial counseling are other perks.

She said the team will receive FitBit bracelets as gifts for the new year.

"We felt the need to practice what we preach," Garrett said.

Victoria resident Sharon Lempa came across Woodhouse when she received a massage as a thank-you gift for helping a friend move. She's been back since.

"I've always gotten excellent service in there. It's very peaceful," she explained in between hammers as she repaired a pantry. "When you do physical labor, there's nothing like getting a good massage."

The company's continued growth, she added, is good news.

"I'm all for the small-business person," said Lempa, who runs a corporate housing business herself. "It's great. Without a doubt."

For Victoria photographer Tippi Van Doren, with Photos By Van Go, the spa's ambience and the care the staff puts into its work make a big difference.

"It's the pampering," said Van Doren who, after a bout of the flu, said she was considering a trip to the spa Friday. "We're so lucky to have something like this in a small town like Victoria."

Garrett admitted she and others - Woodhouse employs more than 700 people systemwide and more than 50 locally - work hard to keep things going. And, while she said she has a strong team, it doesn't end with the people.

Regional growth, thanks to ongoing oil drilling and the like, has helped the company recruit new workers, she said. New hotels also mean there are places for people to stay when they venture in for "discovery days."

Discovery days offer potential franchisees a chance to take in a bit of Texas - they visit the bigger cities, tour Victoria and also experience spa treatments - to gain a better understanding of the company and how it works.

"Victoria is growing so rapidly, and we're proud to be part of it," she said. "It all started here."

Much of Woodhouse's success also lies in the man upstairs.

"We keep our eyes on God and will always give Him the praise and glory for all the success we have," Garrett said of the faith-based company. "Prayer gets you through those hard times."

The new year means work in store for the growing chain and, while it might seem daunting at times, the CEO said she's ready for what lies ahead.

"It's an exciting time for us," she said. "Busy but exciting."

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