Amy Elias wanted to prove she could run a business. With LaVie Spa and Salon in Conyers, Elias has created a reputable company that attracts customers from all over metro Atlanta.
Elias was an Atlanta stockbroker working with corporate client groups before acquiring LaVie. She lived close to LaVie and was a frequent customer, when the spa just offered body wraps and massage therapy.
"I would get some exercise and walk to it and get a body wrap," said Elias. "Then I started getting interested in it."
She became a co-owner, with plans to concentrate on business and marketing aspects of the company. In 2004, she bought the company with her husband, Kenny.
LaVie is now a multi-service spa and salon with 22 employees. Its customers include professional athletes and entertainers.
"I just wanted to see what I could do," said Elias. "I didn’t start out looking to open a spa or be part of a spa. It just evolved that way."
As Elias grew more involved, she became interested in holistic practices like colon hydrotherapy. Elias has also introduced other forms of therapy to LaVie, which also offers Bio Cleanse detoxifying foot baths, facials and body treatments, hair and nail salon and a studio gym with a professional trainer. The spa and salon recently added Swedish Miracle Body Wraps and Avedea products to its extensive line of services.
"We tried to put together everything our customers have requested over the years," said Elias. "We wanted this to be a one-stop shop for them."
The business steadily developed and outgrew its former location in 2008. LaVie then moved from Olde Town Conyers to to a 5,000 square-foot facility at 1222 Royal Drive in 2008.
"When we came in here, we thought there was no way we would outgrow the space," said Elias. "I’m telling you, we’ve outgrown it. We just keep knocking walls down, shrinking rooms and revamping various areas."
LaVie’s salon will be undergoing another makeover in 2011, adding additional stations.
Workers are involved in the community. They adopted three families this Christmas, and also visit assisted-living facilities, where they provide residents with complementary services, like massages and hair and nail treatments.
"We are very community-oriented," said Elias. "I believe if we do the right thing for the right reasons, everything will always turn out."