Spa Life E-Magazine Issue 2 Vol. 15 Summer Gourmet 2015 - Page 22

ori Burke opened a spa in Barrie Ontario in 1998 and owned it until 2009. She opened Solitude Day Spa as a 1000 sq. ft.

operation. Over four and a half years she expanded it twice, growing into a 3700 sq. ft. facility.

Lori’s five staff grew as well; 25 staff members, plus two part time medical staff and a doctor that performed injectable medical services.

Lori grew up a very proud

daughter of an

independent business

owner who passed down

strong work ethics. A

word of advice Lori offers

to everyone in the spa

business is, “First listen

to your customer and secondly service is the one thing that you can do better than your competition. So always service to your best capability and your clients will stay with you! Finally treat your staff like you would want to be treated yourself and they won’t leave! That was my motto! It was a bit more costly but my staff liked to be appreciated, it made for a great team. To this day they still say they wished they could go back and work at Solitude because they loved it.”

Due to the spa growing quickly, the leasehold improvements were very high. The spa rented a century home and it was not cost effective. Consequently the landlord didn’t help much with any improvements.

The books started to show great growth and her client base grew, Lori hosted many medical days for doctors to come in and do injectables for spa clients. That is how Solitude Medical Day became one of Ontario’s first medical day spa’s. In addition, Lori decided to add a doctor to her business. The company was making great money with good gift certificate sales. Lori then added a little gift store called the Fickle Faery attached to the spa – just for some retail items – and that too did very well.

Quietly, Lori decided she would like to look at a different side of this industry, take a step back and maybe consult. She had the spa since her daughter was only a few months old. Lori says, “I could only remember juggling things at work so I could go with her as she and I loved to ride horses. She took

English lessons and I

took Dressage and I

would come to work,

sneak up to my office

in smelly horse

clothes, shower,

then come down

changed. Just to

spend time with her

on a Saturday.”

The Highs and Lows of Owning your Spa Business



Lori Burke