Massage & Bodywork

COVID 2020

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March 16 was the day a joyful Beryl Simpson opened her massage clinic doors to the public for the first time; it was also the same day she made the tough decision to close them. Just months earlier, Simpson decided to follow her dream and open a massage therapy clinic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She did her homework, put in the sweat equity, and invested her life savings into making this professional dream come true. "In January 2020, I made the decision to actively start the process: I found the perfect location; signed a lease; and spent a month purchasing equipment, furniture, supplies, and decorations," she says. "I painted, cleaned, prepped, paid for all the startup costs of utilities, licensing, insurance, and carefully pieced together my dream business. I even built my own website, coordinated a mass marketing announcement to my clientele, and was ready for opening day." Sage Bodywork Therapeutic Massage Clinic opened for the first time on March 16 to a fully booked schedule of clients. "It was a fantastic first day," Simpson recalls. "I was very pleased to have a rather fully booked schedule for the first week of business, and through the end of March. I was on track to not only pay the bills but make a profit in my first month." Massage clients who had followed Simpson during her 10-year career of working at spas and small clinics were eager to follow her yet again. Simpson's hard work had paid off, and the dream she had been building was coming to fruition. But then a virus changed everything. DOING WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR CLIENTS "Although I was aware of the coronavirus in the news, it really wasn't at the forefront of my mind from January to March," Simpson explains. "I was focused on all the details of getting the business open, continuing to work full time at the other clinic where I was still employed, and being a single mom. I was excited about my new venture." But as she watched the news about COVID-19 taking off in her community, Simpson began to do her own research, even reaching out to her state massage board to get their recommendation on whether it was safe to continue to operate. "I received a prompt 'no comment' response," she says. Simpson sought out the advice of other therapists, but each were looking for their own answers on what to do next, just like her. Then, on the evening of the first day of her new business being open, the concerned clinic owner "I Had to Stop" How One MT Hopes to Save Her Business by Shutting it Down By Karrie Osborn Photo by Lucas de Souza. 46 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k C O V I D - 1 9 s p e c i a l i s s u e 2 0 2 0

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