Over the last few months, Soleil Wellness and Day Spa has undergone quite a few changes: there’s a new name, a new ownership partner, a newly refurbished space and a new and expanded menu of services.
When Linda Pollock bought the business in 2007, it was called Tanlines Optional and offered mainly tanning and red light therapy. In the interceding decade-plus, the business has increasingly focused on whole-body wellness.
In October, licensed aesthetician Megan Malkasian came aboard as a partner and co-owner, allowing the business to offer services like microdermabrasion therapy — a kind of mechanical exfoliation.
“I like to bring more advanced skin care treatments that are the least invasive anti-aging correctives,” Malkasian said.
Soleil is one of a number of businesses in downtown Oregon that focus on wellness: It’s next to The Inspired Mat and Hamm Chiropractic and Wellness and a few doors down from Pivotal Point.
“We joke that this has become ‘Wellness Way’,” Pollock wrote to the Observer in an email.
It’s a lot of competition in a small area, but perhaps unsurprisingly, those in the wellness business don’t quite see it that way.
“We love giving referrals,” Pollock said. “We all have a great deal of respect for each other. Not only are we friends but we patronize each other’s businesses.”
The businesses in “Wellness Way” collaborate in other ways, hosting yoga and spa days where clients split time between two or more businesses, and they’re planning more events like this in the future.
“It’s (been) amazing,” Malkasian said. “All these businesses here are looking to help people improve their lives.”
Gaining a partner
Malkasian is an Oregon native who moved back from Washington state three years ago. She has known Pollock for years, as they worked together at the fitness center when Malkasian was in high school, and she graduated from OHS in the same class as Pollock’s daughter, Kim.
“I knew of Linda because I’d come in for massages, and then I also knew of Linda as Kim’s mom – I knew she’s a wonderful woman,” Malkasian said.
Malkasian was teaching aesthetics at a Madison college, but missed having her own practice. She reconnected with Pollock when she took her students on a tour of Pollock’s business, and they started talking about becoming partners.
Once it was settled in October, the pair marked their new partnership by changing the name to focus more on wellness and renovating their space, which involved knocking down and moving walls, redoing the floors and painting. They did a lot of the work themselves, and say they agreed on almost every decision.
“We renamed because we really wanted people to know that this is a place for people to receive wellness services,” Malkasian explained. “We didn’t want people to think there’s new ownership, but there is a new partnership.”
Expanding the menu
Malkasian’s expertise allows the spa to offer services like dermaplaning, age and sun spot removal, and glycolic peels, in addition to massages, tanning, and organic oils and products that Pollock makes like body butters and bio freezes.
“Our No. 1 seller is sleepytime foot spray,” Pollock said.
The mixture of ingredients includes essential lavender and magnesium that users spray on the bottoms of their feet, Pollock explained. It’s particularly popular with parents of young children.
In early February, the spa purchased an infrared sauna and brought on a reiki practitioner who does myofascial release treatments.
The spa is also planning to sell cannabidiol (CBD), which is an oil extracted from hemp that Pollock says helps fight inflammation.
“The (active ingredient in marijuana) THC is removed from it so … it takes out the element of getting a high,” she explained, noting it will be the only store in the area to sell CBD oils for pets and humans.
Both Malkasian and Pollock view wellness as something independent from traditional western ideas about being sick and getting healthy and look at issues like the over-reliance on painkillers as an example of the system’s shortcomings.
“It’s kind of amazing that in this block alone that we have so many practitioners who are able to treat people without opiates,” Pollock said. “No one should have to live with pain.”
A lot of people she refers for alternative therapies are people who have unsuccessfully attempted to manage their pain using opiates, Pollock said.
Malkasian estimates they have over 1,000 clients who come in on a semi-regular basis. For a business that only has two employees, that adds up to a lot of work. But both Pollock and Malkasian are glad to be busy and able to help people.
“I think if you’re in the wellness practice, you care about people,” Pollock said. “(It’s about) getting their whole body in balance: mind, body and soul.
“Anything we can do to improve people’s wellness, we want to offer here.”