Opened in 1997, Poquonock Avenue's has consistently been ranked among the top three centers of its kind in the region, ranking first on multiple occasions in The Hartford Advocate's "Best Of" series.
Windsor Patch recently sat down with Windsor resident and Therapeutic Solutions owner Jacqueline Simard to get a glimpse into what makes her business one of the best year after year, and how massage therapy can go beyond relaxation.
Windsor Patch: Therapeutic Solutions has been ranked at the top of The Hartfort Advocate's "Best Of" since 2003, how does it feel to be recognized for your work year after year?
Jacqueline Simard: It's nice to be placed. There's a lot of massage therapy centers, and, you know, The Hartford Advocate covers all of Hartofrd County, which includes West Hartford, Avon, Simsbury, so I really feel like to be recognized here in Windsor is a good thing. And I like the idea that we can bring people from those areas.
WP: What sets your business apart from other massage therapy centers?
JS: There's not a lot of them that do just massage and skin care. There's a lot of them that do hair, nails and sort of more of a day spa kind of thing. We do body treatments and waxing and facials, but we're really pretty much all about the body; massage, body treatments, skin care. No nails, no hair or anything like that.
WP: You've been here for 15 years, what has contributed to your success so far?
JS: I think it's just being consistent; making sure that you provide an exceptional service. I think about large, [chaing therapy centers] and I know how hard it is to get really exceptional therapists to have four or five (staff members). I couldn't imagine having to staff 15. I don't think you can be that choosy. It's very hard to find really good quality... So I feel like I pay attention to getting really good quality therapists. And that doesn't necessarily have to be people that have been doing it a long time. You can get people who are really good right out of the box; they come out of school and they're just good at what they do.
WP: Do you currently live in Windsor?
JS: Yes. I'm not originally from Windsor, but I've been in Windsor for probably 17 years. I bought this building about 10 years ago.
WP: What do you enjoy about this business?
JS: It's really nice to be in a business that you make people feel good for a living. They're happy when they come in and they're happy when they go.
WP: How did you get into the massage therapy business?
JS: I always liked the idea of it. I had a friend many years ago who was doing it, and I decided to go to an open house once at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy, which is where I went to school, and it just grabbed me. I said "This feels good. I think this is something I would enjoy doing." And I did.
WP: Was it a tough choice to start your own business?
JS: Well, I knew even when I was in school this was what I wanted to do. Running your own business isn't for everybody. There's something to be said for just working for someone. Like the therapists that work here feel it's nice to show up, do my clients and go home, and not have all the headache that comes along with owning your own business. There's give and take. The level of freedom is really good, but you have to be here.
WP: In these tough economic times, do you find that people are spending the same amount of money on massages?
JS: I had a couple come in for a couples' massage. Usually couples will do it for anniversaries or some kind of an event, and the woman said, "You know, we're not taking a big vacation this year. These are the kinds of things we're going to do for ourselves instead."
WP: Why do most of your clients come here?
JS: Stress relief. Everybody's stressed out. I have all ages come in, but mostly it's 40 and up... You're not feeling all the things you're doing to yourself in your early 30's and 20's, you feel like you're bulletproof, but finally that catches up to you in your mid-40's. So stress relieve, and some people come with neck and back issues and they feel the massage provides a lot of relief.
WP: Do you typically receive male and female clientele?
JS: That's one of the most commonly-asked questions, and everybody has an opinion. Some people think "Oh, you must have a lot more women, or you must have a lot more men," but really it's pretty much a 50-50 split.
WP: What services do you provide?
JS: We do all different types of massage. We do prenatal massage, sports massage, hot stone massage, aroma therapy massage, all different types. We also do something very interesting called ashiatsu oriental bar massage, which is done with the feet... It's always pretty interesting when people see the bars on the ceiling.
We also do facials, European skin care, all types of body waxing, and some body treatments like sea-salt scrubs and things like that.
WP: Are there benefits to massage therepy that go beyond feeling relaxed?
JS: Oh yes. Massage therapy helps to increase the circulation, which is one of the biggest benefits of massage. The blood is what brings nourishment to the muscles, so the more nourishment you bring to an area, the more blood you bringt to an area encourages healing.