Align Spa continues legacy with employees and customers
November 26, 2017
Amy Lu Christopherson and Katherine Hoggan both discovered Align Spa in its early days. One is an employee and the other a client, but both have been loyal ever since.
Harriet McEntire-Lanka, the founder and owner of Align Spa, started the spa in a one-office space in the Red Pine Condominiums at the base of Canyons Resort in 2002. She outgrew the room quickly, and moved into the Shadow Ridge Hotel the following year. Today, Align Spa is one of the longest-running and biggest spas in Park City, with 12 massage rooms and over 30 employees.
McEntire-Lanka met her longest-standing employee, Christopherson, when Christopherson was working in a copy shop during Align Spa's early days. McEntire-Lanka was printing and copying brochures and fliers for the spa's opening and Christopherson asked if she was hiring. She ended up being hired on the spot and worked up from being a receptionist to spa director.
Christopherson and Calli Sorenson, the other spa director, said there are several reasons that employees stay as long as they do with the company. Sorenson has been with Align for 11 years, and more than half of the staff has been around for eight-plus years. Since most spas have high turnover rates, Sorenson said it is rare to have so many stay.
"Harriet just kind of empowers us to do things," she said. "She is open to ideas and feedback and trusts us. It's very rewarding to know that someone completely trusts you with their name and their business."
Sorenson and Christopherson run the everyday business as McEntire-Lanka directs the business remotely from her new home in Costa Rica. They try to use a similar management style with the massage therapists so they can be empowered as well.
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Plus, the spa directors and McEntire-Lanka have experience being massage therapists and know how taxing it can be.
"We understand both sides," Sorenson said. "We are in the trenches with them as well. We want them to feel respected and that we hear them and understand them."
When employees stay, it seems that clients do as well, Sorenson said.
Hoggan was one of McEntire-Lanka's first clients, and she has been going to the spa ever since.
"It's honestly like family," she said. "Every time I go, I end up staying past my appointment because I like to hang out and talk to everybody."
She goes to the spa three to four times a month and rotates through each of the massage therapists because she does not want to pick favorites. Even when she does not have an appointment, she will stop by to say hi.
"I've never been to a spa before — and I've been to ones all over the world – where they all love it there so much," she said. "And I think that that is what makes it such a great experience."
McEntire-Lanka, who is a Park City native and has seen the city's growth, said through all of the changes in the town, it is good to have something that stays consistent.
"I feel like people need that sort of Cheers – like the bar Cheers – or these places where they can go in and people know them," she said. "They know where they are, they recognize everything, they recognize the people and they feel like they are being cared for."
She said that her strictness about having excellent customer service has paid off in the long run, and she is excited to keep growing and maintaining loyal employees and customers.
"We're serving a bigger need than treatments, we are nurturing relationships," she said. "You get that when you walk in the door."
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