Building the Valley: New Kensington Massage Therapy business flourishing – TribLIVE

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Tonie Vaughn-Clemons had no intention of opening her own business. A trained massage therapist, she worked side jobs for income while volunteering her skills at a Sarver chiropractor’s practice, for the satisfaction of the healing work.
Then covid-19 hit, and the activity she cherished was shut down amid pandemic restrictions.
But instead of searching for a new position, the New Kensington resident decided it was time to bet on herself.
A referral from a client led her to Old Towne Overhaul President Michael Malcanas and operations manager Michelle Thom. After saving money over time while on unemployment, Vaughn-Clemons was able to secure a spot for her business in less than two days.
Tonie’s Massage Therapy Retreat became a reality in October 2020.
“Mike asked me what my vision was for this, and he made it happen,” she said.
Vaughn-Clemons, 62, said she had no doubts when it came to opening her business. She had more than 18 years of experience massaging and had built a strong clientele over time. The addition of Food Truck Fridays in the area helped bring in even more clients.
Her work flow can vary from seeing three or four people a week to as many as 15. She said she tries to see no more than five people in a day and works Mondays through Fridays. If needed, she said, she can accommodate customers on weekends.
Working in medical massage, Vaughn-Clemons was deemed essential during the pandemic and was able to stay open to serve clients.
She offers a chiropractic experience with a bit of massage therapy. All customers receive a custom massage, she said.
Clients might ask for a hot stone massage, suction cups or one of the compression machines. Massages can last as long as needed, and there is no rush to be done, Vaughn-Clemons said.
“I perform what their body tells me to do,” she said.
Her clients range from pro athletes to high school students.
Clients waiting for a massage can spend time in the relaxation space, where they can lounge on a couch, sit in a massage chair or have their kids color in books or read at a table. She tells clients the space is theirs to enjoy and have downtime.
The job never gets tiring for Vaughn-Clemons, who said the work is what keeps her going.
“I conserve my energy from the energy I receive from clients while I do my work,” she said.
Products such as healing crystals, Shea butter, essential oils and waist beads are offered for sale on site. Vaughn-Clemons makes the space available to a couple of vendors who manage the sales.
Vaughn-Clemons worked hard to make sure massaging never became a job for her. She wants it to be a passion she continues to love as she continues with her business.
“I know I won’t get rich from this,” she said. “The only richness I get is from how people feel after coming here.”
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