Kirsten Weiland didn’t know what to expect when she opened a rural massage therapy clinic three years ago in Prairie City.
Myo Massage Therapy offers therapeutic alternative treatments for conditions ranging from muscle tension to depression and anxiety, all out of her tiny small town studio. Weiland thought a community of farmers, truckers and commuting professionals could benefit from her services. She was right.
Weiland partnered with hair stylist Lori Cummings and added her studio — Shades of You by Lori — to the space. Both Myo Massage and Shades of You have seen steady growth since 2015, and have outgrown their current space at 103 S. Madison St.
Fast forward to March 2018, as she gave a tour last week of the construction zone that will soon be her new, larger facility, Weiland stopped and laughed about those early days.
“I didn’t think I’d be here three years later,” she said.
When their current landlord Dan Stravers and his family heard how Weiland and Cummings’ success had stretched their building at the seams, he had an idea that could mutually benefit everyone.
The Stravers family had just bought the old historic bank across the street, and he proposed building Weiland and Cummings a brand new studio. The bank was built in the late 1800s. It was originally a two-story building and has seen at least two additions to the west and a modern facade installed over the years.
“With Lori and I both in that space over there, we’re overgrown. If we get two or three guests, we are running into each other,” Weiland said. “I was looking ahead, looking for another facility. Cody (Wenthe) mentioned the bank building and it snowballed from there.”
Weiland and Cummings’ vision for the new facility is a full wellness center. Weiland said they do have a name for the new joint-venture, but for now, they’re keeping the town in suspense.
Cummings will offer salon services including styling, hair cuts and colors, spray tanning and waxing. Weiland’s sister Kira Norman will also bring pedicures to the salon — the chairs are already waiting to be installed at the new studio.
For the Myo Massage side of the center, Weiland plans to hire on anther licensed massage therapist and incorporate two studio rooms. The old bank vault will be transformed into a relaxation room. There will also be a specialty treatment room that will give guests the full-pampered treatment — full body scrubs and seaweed scrubs and wraps.
Weiland said with Prairie City’s older population plus working families, it takes an hour travel time just to get a pedicure or other salon services. She credits local Prairie City clientele for Myo Massage’s growth.
“It’s a place for people to relax and get away for some self care. Self care is huge right now. We don’t take enough time for ourselves,” she said. “Everybody’s running every which way. Even if it’s just a five minute mediation, a pedicure or a message, it’s nice to take some time for you, and it’s nice to have it in town.”
Construction in the back of the old bank has focused on opening the space to create the most unique part of the wellness center. It will be transformed into a Yoga studio. Weiland said it will include multiple styles of Yoga, as well as guided meditation and possibly managed therapy certification classes. Weiland has started seeking and recruiting certified Yoga instructors to teach in the new studio.
“There are so many styles of Yoga — restorative Yoga, hot Yoga, Yoga sculpt. We’ll see how it all plays out. There options are there,” Weiland said.
Helping make Weiland’s vision a reality is the Stravers family. Maggie (Stravers) Wenthe is part of this local family business cooperative Prairieview Partners, LLC. Wenthe’s parents, Dan and Marilyn Stravers, along with her siblings formed their company five years ago.
They have multiple real estate and small business ventures throughout Prairie City, including Prairieview Pumpkins. The company also owns the former lumber yard and the building where Myo Massage currently calls home, which also houses Pro AgStar and Prairieview Storage.
Dan Stravers bought the old bank building for the same reason they’ve acquired other properties — to have one less empty storefront in Prairie City. Wenthe said they’ve been pulling a lot of nights and weekends, doing much of the work themselves to cut labor costs. Even their kids are putting on the masks and work gloves to give new life the historic property.
“My parents were born and raised here and have a vested interest in Prairie City,” Wenthe said. “Prairie City should be the town people are growing in to and we have to choose to make that happen.”
Prairieview Partners has gutted nearly the entire building, installing new electrical, framing and insulation to create Weiland and Cummings’ new space. There is no opening date for the wellness center just yet, but Wenthe said they’re target for completion is early fall.
“I love that the business is growing and (Weiland’s) passionate about bringing these wellness activities to Prairie City,” Wenthe said. “And we’re trying to help her dream come true.”
Contact Mike Mendenhall at email@example.com