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They’ll have you feeling like new

Spa owners Jackie LeBlanc (left) and Maureen Wilson love to pamper clients. - Julie Busch photo
Spa owners Jackie LeBlanc (left) and Maureen Wilson love to pamper clients.
— image credit: Julie Busch photo

▼ Winslow’s Renew day spa promises a feast for the senses.

Tucked in a quiet courtyard off Winslow Way is an oasis that promises to soothe, beautify and rejuvenate in an hour – or an afternoon.

Although this transformation comes at a price, island women may find it’s a worthwhile investment, after they leave the premises in an altogether altered state.

“A lot of people don’t know this is back here and they’re stunned,” said Jackie LeBlanc, who owns Renew Day Spa with fellow islander Maureen Wilson. “They say, ‘A friend of mine told me about your space.’”

Friends for 15 years, Wilson and LeBlanc opened the full-service spa in January between Glass Onion and the Bead Shop. The cozy spa exudes a welcoming, not intimidating, atmosphere.

Wilson and LeBlanc’s mantra is good customer service from start to finish. Their goal is to make sure that each client walks through the door and feels like she’s the only one there, with no distractions and no feeling of being rushed.

The spa’s entry displays beautifully packaged candles, lotions, bath salts and spa products on two walls. Featured are the True skincare line, fizzy bath balls, makeup, Agraria home fragrance products, Zents perfume balms, lotions and soaps and handpainted silk eye pillows filled with lavender.

The other end of the room is a sitting area made cozy with comfortable couches and a fireplace mantel topped with silver art pieces from Mexico. By exacting design, the space radiates warmth, not commerce, a comfortable fit for women and their men.

Soft lighting illuminates the serene blue walls, which contrast nicely with the white sheers at the windows and the cork flooring. The atmosphere is tranquil and soothing, hinting at the pampering to come.

“The space has a Hamptons feel, and that’s the feel I want,” Wilson said.

“It’s a space in which clients can relax, feel totally safe and comfortable and at home,” said LeBlanc, adding that it’s not intimidating for men and lacks the “factory feel.”

Wilson and LeBlanc worked for a Seattle investment firm in their previous professional lives. When that business went under, they decided to enter another serivce-oriented arena, one they would really like.

Wilson wanted to be an aesthetician for years. She obtained the necessary training, leased space in a Silverdale spa and envisioned opening her own spa one day.

Wilson has lived on Bainbridge about 30 years; LeBlanc “only” 15. When she realized Wilson was putting all her money into the business, LeBlanc thought, “Why should she lose all her money? We’ll lose it together.” Besides, she was getting bored with her garden.

In choosing the courtyard location, “We really wondered if we were getting ourselves out of the traffic flow,” LeBlanc said. “The reality is people found Renew through word of mouth and by accident,” even before the sign went up.

LeBlanc and Wilson keep their business philosophy simple.

“The best client service you can offer is to be yourself,” said LeBlanc, who handles front desk duties and myriad other tasks. “It’s an investment that is personal and business.

“Here we have to be No. 1,” she said. “We have to make you comfortable, to have you sit and think, “Yes, I do deserve this.’ It’s very rewarding.”

Clients move from the main room to a private sitting area in the back that allows them to transition from outside to within before a staff member works her magic.

“A good transition point will equalize your state of mind so you can get into your treatment and really enjoy every minute of it,” Wilson said.

Each staff member plays a pivotal role in achieving the spa’s goals. Wilson administers facials, peels, waxing, mud and algae body masques, salt or sugar body polish and brow and lash tinting. Next month she’ll add microdermabrasion to her repertoire.

Judy Narimatsu, a former nurse, kneads away stress and strains with a variety of massage techniques, from Hawaiian to spiritual to deep tissue, as well as feet and hand reflexology and hot stone therapy.

The spa’s “real find” is manicurist Cody Patterson because “staffing this position was a challenge,” LeBlanc said.

Patterson’s attention to detail extends to bowls of herbs for foot and hand soaks, a state-of-the-art work area and “lots of little extras,” like relaxing neck wraps with foot soaks.

“We wanted a spa that we wanted to go to,” said LeBlanc, confident that she and Wilson have achieved that goal.

LeBlanc and Wilson welcome local and visitor drop-ins, who are encouraged to sample the lotions, ask questions and even request same-day services. Their goal is to connect with area bed-and-breakfast businesses.

“The island has been really very supportive,” Wilson said. “We heard horrible stories before we opened.”

LeBlanc and Wilson continue to plot new ideas and the spa’s continued growth in terms of services and staff.

“We want to renew this little jewel in the courtyard,” LeBlanc said.

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