May 10, 2002

Greenhouse Spa Makes Quality Pampering Affordable

By Yvette tenBerge

There are few things as relaxing as a good massage or facial, but the prices that most spas charge have typically kept these services out of reach for the average person. With its unusual tiered pricing system and Mother’s Day specials throughout the month of May, The Greenhouse Spa and Salon Mastery Center, located at 2523 Fourth Avenue, aims to change all of this by making these luxuries affordable.

Rafael Benitez answers the questions of potential clients.

Rafael Benitez, 28, is the manager of the Fourth Avenue Spa. During a Grand Opening celebration two weeks ago, he glided from group to group, welcoming the more than 250 men and women who responded to the introductory event. Those in attendance received free hand-softening treatments, makeovers, massages and other beauty services.

“Our goal is to provide legendary service, and to create a life-long relationship with our clients,” says Mr. Benitez, explaining the company’s philosophy. “We recognize and truly believe that therapy and taking care of your mind, body, hair and soul are essential for well-being in a high-stress environment.”

The Greenhouse Spa on Fourth Avenue is one of 18 Greenhouse Spas throughout the nation. This line of spas, along with more than 100 cruise ship spas and 80 resort and day spas around the world, are owned and operated by Steiner, the world’s largest spa provider.

Although their philosophy is undoubtedly a draw, it is the center’s pricing system that is making it a hit with patrons. Since this newly opened salon serves as a professional training center for the newly hired staff from every Greenhouse location, the Fourth Avenue facility prices its services based upon the experience and skill level of the licensed professional.

Marisol Salvador, 22, is a public administration student at San Diego State University. She has been a patron of spas for roughly four years and was one of the many who attended the Grand Opening in hopes of finally finding a luxury spa with prices that would allow her to pamper herself on a regular basis.

“What made me decide to [come back to the Greenhouse Spa] was their tiered pricing system. As a college student, it is very hard to keep up with the prices of a regular spa,” says Ms. Salvador. After attending the opening and sampling their services, she felt that they treated her “very well” and liked that they had a line of their own products. “Here you have the chance to go to the same spa for a lot less.”

Reactions like those of Ms. Salvador are just what Mr. Benitez is hoping to stimulate. He confirms that the clients most likely to take advantage of the training center’s pricing scale are students and young professionals.

“Our junior stylists are often utilized most by college students and young professionals who are merging into the job market and want to treat themselves. As our stylists make their transition to Master Stylist, we find that their clients are also growing in their own professions,” says Mr. Benitez, implying that young professionals usually grow at the same rate in their professions as the junior stylists whom they have chosen do, and thus clients can afford to pay the higher prices that the junior stylists charge when they become master stylists.

Although all of the staff members working at the Greenhouse Spa are certified, “Staff Professionals” typically have at least three years of hands-on experience at a Steiner spa; “Up and Coming Professionals” typically have one to three years of hands-on experience with Steiner and are supervised by Staff Professionals, and “Professionals in Certification” have other certifications, but are in the process of completing Steiner’s certification program for a specific treatment or service.

This difference in experience translates into big saving for customers. Men’s haircuts by staff professionals are $35, and cost only $10 from a professional in certification. A haircut for a woman is $50 from a staff professional, and costs only $10 from a professional in certification. Partial highlights are $85 if you get them from a staff professional, and only $20 if you get them from a professional in certification, while a back massage is $60 if you get it from a staff professional, and only $15 from a professional in certification.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, soon-to-be regulars like Ms. Salvador are eager for the chance to pass their discovery onto the women in their lives who they feel deserve these luxury treatments the most. “I plan to take my mother to [the Greenhouse Spa] when I get a chance. She has never been to a spa, and I think she will enjoy her experience,” says Ms. Salvador. “Especially if it’s at the Greenhouse.”

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