The mom-and-mom shop Blue Sage Spa takes comfort seriously — plush gem-tone pillows, bright sunlit windows and a warm, friendly vibe hard to pin down.
Spa co-owners Amy Beckett and Caren Mapes-Lerc are celebrating 15 years in business in Breckenridge, making visitors and residents alike feel right at home.
The two massage therapists met through a mutual friend who gave Beckett a gift certificate to go to Mapes-Lerc for a massage. Mapes-Lerc said she moved to Colorado with the aspiration to start a business, but she wasn’t sure what kind. Beckett was looking to shake things up and work for herself.
“Years went by and I managed several businesses in town, learning and getting great experience about what worked,” Mapes-Lerc said. “The stars aligned and we had the same goal in mind.”
“For empowering women in business, or anyone in general, don’t lose sight of your dream. Besides the finances, you have to have the guts to go for it. Never sit on your laurels.”
Co-owner, Blue Sage Spa
In 1999, the pair opened Healing Touch Massage near City Market in Breckenridge. They had five treatment rooms, and hired Heather Mcfarland, Michelle Munafo and Amy Sakes — three employees who have been with them ever since. After a year and a half, the two were offered a spot in the new Main Street Station, but only if they could expand to a full spa.
“We had never even gone to spas that much,” Mapes-Lerc said. “It was just body work, no facials or anything like that.”
“And now we were opening one,” Beckett said. “We had to learn how to pick out skin care products and all of these other things.”
The woman ran both locations for a while, and after their five-year contract was up with Main Street Station, Beckett said it was time to consolidate.
“The rent was high over there, and that was hard,” she said. “But we were doing well. We could afford to buy our own place.”
Blue Sage Spa was built in an old art gallery on Main Street. The team had to do major renovations, tearing out two stairwells and building one main one in its place.
“The only original part left is the tile,” Beckett said.
“Once we did those renovations, that was it. We aren’t moving again,” Mapes-Lerc said.
Beckett said while they no longer work in the treatment rooms, except when needed, having the owners work with staff and be involved helps their team care about the quality of the work — a family atmosphere, she said.
“Throughout this journey, people come in and ask, ‘Oh, are you a chain, are you anywhere else?’ And we’ve had those opportunities to expand but it’s nice to focus on one thing,” Mapes-Lerc said.
“And make it really good,” Beckett said.
The women are always changing their menu and looking for new products, to keep things fresh and updated. Blue Sage Spa offers manicures and pedicures, specialty massages, facials and body treatments, as well as retail products for at-home care. With nine treatment rooms, Blue Sage Spa can see 90 appointments a day if fully booked, but averages about 50. Some are short and sweet, a simple brow wax, but others such as the Just What the Doctor Ordered package is five hours with a massage, facial, body treatment and pedicure — lunch included.
In the future, Beckett plans to go to nursing school so Blue Sage can expand to a medi-spa, offering treatments such as Botox. Mapes-Lerc would love to do hair as well someday, possibly opening up another location nearby just as a salon.
“For empowering women in business, or anyone in general, don’t lose sight of your dream,” Mapes-Lerc said. “Besides the finances, you have to have the guts to go for it. Never sit on your laurels.”
When the ladies moved to their current location, they took the giant body treatment tub on the back of flatbed truck down Main Street, riding in it together wearing towels and waving a sign about the new space.
“It was our own personal parade,” Mapes-Lerc said. “We joke this is the longest committed relationship either of us has had. It takes a lot of ebb and flow, and growing, really learning from each other.”
“If you’re ready to crumble the other person picks you up,” Beckett said.
Beckett said one of the most rewarding things about her business was seeing customers who come in stressed out transformed when they leave, looking happy and turning the negativity around.
“Our level of customer service is really what has helped bring people back,” Mapes-Lerc said.
The spa can accommodate large parties and also welcomes last-minute appointments and walk-ins, Beckett said. At the welcome desk, the team even keeps a competitive tally of which staff members get a comment about “the best service ever.”
“It’s so easy to take peoples’ money and not care, but we want you to come back again,” Mapes-Lerc said. “It’s all about having the right attitude about people, and taking that personal interest in making a person’s day better.”