The storm blanketed Bristol in two feet of snow in early 2013. Shortly after, a deep cold set in and the pipes circulating around the Alayne White Spa, housed inside the Bristol Harbor Hotel, burst.
“About 50 percent of my business was destroyed, flooded,” she recalled.
Instead of wallowing in pity, she drew inspiration from the disaster.
“I immediately started looking for a new location,” she said. “I found out I was able to get out of my lease because of all the damage.”
Within a week, she had her sights set on 11 Constitution St. – a two-story home that housed a former bead shop. The shop owners lived on the second floor and ran their store on the first.
“It was perfect,” she said. “The first time I stepped foot in here, I said to the owner that it all must have been built for me; I was meant to be here.”
The building was a short sale, on the market for $799,000. Ms. White “took a leap of faith,” in putting in her offer.
“I had no idea if I’d get financing, or if I could afford it,” she said.
Six months later, the lender agreed to sell it to Ms. White for $430,000.
And then the transformation began. She installed drop ceilings with faux tin tiles; erected partitions, creating rooms in the back; painted and re-decorated.
The second floor only required her furniture.
But remodeling the building wasn’t the only thing to get a makeover: Ms. White re-did her entire business plan.
She dropped “Spa” from her business name, and refocused her energy on bringing healthy lifestyle changes to women.
“When women come to a spa, we give them treatments and they feel great when they’re here,” said Ms. White. “But then they leave and go back into that environment that brought them here in the first place.
“I want to get women to make positive lifestyle changes, to create that inner joy by surrounding themselves with peace and harmony.”
To do that, Ms. White is opening her home for occasional educational workshops centered on healthy eating, fitness and other de-stressing classes.
“I want to show women how to feel more beautiful on the inside,” she said. “I think that when women are calmer, healthier and nicer, they drive more peacefully, and have better connections.”
She will still offer typical spa treatments, and considers her lifestyle movement an add-on. She also plans to sell kitchenware by Jamie Oliver, and gluten-free makeup.
“Women are getting sicker younger,” Ms. White said. “They’re all living in their heads.
“If they can calm down and walk gently through the planet, they’ll be happier.”
The new Alayne White opened for business last week.