Massage therapists find new space on Pine River's Barclay Avenue
Two therapists will operate under one roof to provide a variety of services.
Shelli Amundson has been doing massage therapy in the back corner of River Fitness in Pine River for nearly three years, but not everyone was aware she was even in town. So she recently mixed things up.
Since we've opened up here I've already gained five new clients. I think it's going to be very busy come spring time.
"I found out that even a lot of the people that were working out didn't know I was in that corner," Amundson said. "Now that we've moved out people are just coming out of the woodwork."
That's because Amundson moved her practice into the space vacated by Charlotte Heino after she retired from her private salon, Charlotte O'Hair Beauty Salon on Barclay Avenue in Pine River. This time, Amundson isn't alone, as she is teaming up with Nalrah McCormick to broaden the offerings in their two-room parlor.
"She had called for an appointment," Amundson said. "We started talking. I had already started talking to Sharon (Gensmer, landlord) about this space. Something inside of me just told me that we have to share the space, and she's amazing."
Immediately after Heino left, they began working with Sharon and Gavin Gensmer to renovate the space into two massage rooms. They opened their doors in early January.
The new space has more than just visibility. Amundson said her former spot was loud and dark. The new space is quiet, private and well lit.
"It's wonderful," Amundson said. "It's a lot brighter and it feels homey in here. Very comfortable and we've been able to make a really nice space."
Both have years of experience. Amundson has been licensed for 13 years after learning the ropes in Washington state. She worked at Glacial Waters Spa at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa before working out of River Fitness.
McCormick's journey in the massage industry began at Wadena Technical College and Central Lakes College where she attended classes for nursing, massage, business and more in the early 1990s, with more massage and reiki classes in 2006. She started her own business, Home and Hip, and has operated mostly as a mobile service.
This is her first time in a brick and mortar space.
"I'm not carrying my bed around with moving bags," McCormick said. "It's wonderful."
The pair offer a variety of services.
"I offer myofascial release trigger points," McCormick said. "I do some massage therapy like Swedish deep tissue massage, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi for relaxation or a little big of cupping."
McCormick also specializes in reiki, a therapy focused on manipulating the flow of energy in the body along nerve points.
"People ask me what my style is," Amundson said. "I'm just a fixer. I will do anything in the scope of my practice to find relief whether that's hot stones, cupping, trigger point, deep tissue, cranial release. We have the same background but I would say we are two different therapists."
Though they run separate businesses in the same space, Amundson said she feels like they work well together as a team. Their different backgrounds, styles and energy levels allow them the option to refer their patients to one another if necessary.
"I've had many clients that have been with me for five years," Amundson said. "The No. 1 thing they tell me is I never do the same massage. I'm good with headaches, release of the head and neck and shoulders. I find I get a lot of people that just come in for sciatic issues. There's so much that happens with us."
"I've helped a lot of people who have had back surgeries, knee surgeries, ankle infusions, high blood pressure, veterans, scar tissue," McCormick said. "Sciatica is a huge one for me. Neck injuries like whiplash. And your clients, they say thank you or cry because they no longer have that pain or they can walk or shovel their driveway or drive their car to the Cities and back instead of just making it to Pine River and being in so much pain they don't know if they're going to make it home."
Their customer base comes largely from word of mouth, business cards they distribute or Facebook.
"Since we've opened up here I've already gained five new clients," Amundson said. "I think it's going to be very busy come spring time."
McCormick said she has sessions that go for an hour or two. Amundson's massages are more in the 30- to 90-minute range. Appointments should be made by phone. They will sometimes be available in the lobby of their space between customers, but during sessions the front door will lock with no admissions for sake of privacy.
Appointments are being scheduled one to two weeks out depending on which therapist is requested.
McCormick can be reached at HomeandHip.com or by phone at 218-839-1643. Amundson may be reached at 218-537-0738.
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.