• Other businesses on the move, including Homer Theatre up for sale
By Naomi Klouda
A spa opened in downtown Homer this week, a one-stop venue for massage, health-coaching, teeth whitening, facials and nail care.
Longtime business woman Jackie Dentz, owner of Frosty Bear Ice Cream and former owner of Crabbie’s Restaurant, teamed up with newcomer Kimberly Royce to open Spa Envy. The new business is in the historic building next to Don Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, on Pioneer Avenue near Main Street.
“We wanted to be a place where people can come for everything under one roof, like a cooperative,” Dentz said. “Don Jose’s completely remodeled the building, and we will be hooked up to natural gas soon. I feel loved here. There’s a lot of love in this building.”
The atmosphere is important when it’s the place for pampering a body with massage, diet coaching and pedicures alongside a warm fireplace, Dentz and Royce say. The decorative first floor opens for pedicures, manicures, facials and health consulting. Massage is offered upstairs for both women and men.
Dentz launched a new career in health coaching two years ago after she lost 91 pounds and threw away prescriptions for high blood pressure in newfound better health. She is certified by the National Health Institute and NOVA school of nursing to coach others — some 89 clients so far — through weight loss. After selling Crabbie’s, she also became certified to give pedicures and manicures, perceiving a need for seniors in the community.
Nothing came together for Dentz’ blossoming health vocation, however, until she teamed up with Royce, a licensed nurse and massage therapist who moved to Homer from Billings, Mont., in June.
“My husband and I wanted to live here since our first visit to Homer in 2006,” Royce said. They set a moving date for June 2014 based on his daughter’s high school graduation. Her parents also decided to move north with the Royces. “It was amazing how everything came together.”
Royce became acquainted with Dentz during one of her visits. The two made plans and got to work opening Spa Envy based on their complementary sets of skills.
“It’s fun to make people healthy and happy,” Dentz said. They are hoping to hear from other practitioners as well interested in joining their team.
Royce shares that vision in her own long career as a nurse and massage therapist. For the past nine years, while also working as a nurse, she specialized in pre-natal and Swedish massage. She’s certified to provide aroma touch techniques using doTerra Essential Oils.
The business team plans to offer spa packages, and is dreaming up catchy names for them. The “Left Behind Package” is a plan for pampering fishermen’s wives that includes lunch. Another is the “Queen for a Day,” where a gilded crown awaits the recipient of that package.
Homer Theatre is now listed for sale after owners Jamie and Lynnette Sutton signed a contract with Alderfer Realty to list it.
“We’ve owned the theater for 11 years, and during that 11 years, we’ve had a lot of fun running a successful business,” Sutton said. “Now it’s time to move on, and let someone else have the fun of running the theater.”
The Suttons live in the San Francisco Bay area, but summer in Homer, where Lynnette was raised and their daughter graduated from Homer High School. Jamie works as an attorney specializing in criminal law. His wife is an interior designer.
When the two bought the Homer Theatre in 2003, its curved plywood seats were held together by duct tape and the building had suffered from flooding. The Suttons invested in renovations, constructing a new front and eventually adding a $160,000 digital projector with a new screen and lenses to offer 3D movies.
“We put a new facade to look like a theater that would be in Homer when Homer began,” Jamie said. “It was in funky shape, but we fixed it up and now here it is.”
He said the theater isn’t being sold because of a lack of profit, or due to new consumer habits that have killed off numerous historic theaters around the country.
“The theater made a profit every year,” Sutton said.
Each year, the theater tried to keep community interest and relevancy by presenting shows in tune with local tastes, he said. The annual documentary film festival takes place each September, as it has since they reopened the theater.
Seats sell out, starting with an opening gala meant to make theater-going retain its historic elegance.
Good ideas also came from great managers, Sutton said.
One was to encourage recycling and cut paper waste by offering popcorn discounts to people who brought their own bowls.
“It’s being in touch with the spirit of Homer and what’s important to people in Homer,” Sutton said. “It was a great idea that caught on, and I’m surprised more theaters nationally don’t do it. I see a lot of things at the theater that are ahead of the national movie theaters.”
Another community responsiveness approach was in hosting more than 20 fundraisers a year for local nonprofits, and catering to ski enthusiasts through the annual Warren Miller ski premiers. They also found a fondness for opera when Sutton took on streamlining it live from the Metropolitan in New York City.
“When I first did it, I ended up being in New York, and told (one of the promoters) that I wanted to show it in Alaska,” Sutton explained. “I was told, ‘Sorry, we’re in all major markets and we only have two markets left.’ I told them, ‘great; we’re one of the markets.’ They ended up saying OK.”
That’s how a small town like Homer ended up with what is considered one of the premier culture events of the country.
“Homer is unique — 80 some miles from the next movie theater — and the theater is its own unique facility,” Sutton said. “If people in Homer want to see a film, they come. We try to show movies as soon as we can, but we don’t get movies as they open nationally. But they come in the weeks after that, so the movies are still on people’s lists.”
The Suttons aren’t in any hurry to sell. Until a new buyer comes along, the show will go on.
Comments are closed