WESTERN SPRINGS – Just shy of 60, Greg Clark thought he was too young to retire, but he didn't want to return to the corporate world.
So, he did something he and his family had always dreamed of – opening their own business.
Elements Therapeutic Massage opened Saturday in Western Springs to a crowd of massage-seekers who took advantage of an opening weekend coupon. The studio, located in Suite 45 at 4700 Gilbert Ave., will be run by Clark and his daughter Sarah. His other daughter, Megan, will help with marketing, and her husband will also pitch in too.
"With my daughters, we've always talked about opening a business," Clark said.
Greg Clark and his wife split their time living in Racine, Wisc., and Arizona, but they're in the process of moving to Chicago. Clark plans to open two more Elements franchises, probably in Chicago's South Loop and in Arizona.
"If you look at massage therapy in general , it's growing double digits in an economy that isn't growing because people are looking to become healthier," said Clark, who said the business appealed to his family because of its health benefits.
Neither Clark nor his daughters will give massages themselves, but they will test potential hires by receiving massages.
"You really have to go for about a year to get a massage license," Clark said. "And it's a very physically demanding job. Everyone we hire, someone in the family has been basically doing a practical with the therapist to evaluate their techniques. We're not experts, but I think we know a good massage from [a bad one]."
Clark said he hopes to create a stress-free environment with employees who are hard-working but laid-back. The family plans to have 15-20 massage therapists, along with five employees working the front desk.
The studio is open 9 a.m. to 9 .m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. New customers receive a 55-minute massage for $49. For a monthly fee of $59, customers receive one 55-minute massage plus additional massages for the same price. The walk-in rate is $89. Elements also offers 80 and 110-minute massages. For more information, call 708-505-4513.
Elements is headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and has 143 locations in 28 states.