2016’s Entrepreneurial Success Award goes to Tori Paide and Marla Peoples, owners of The Still Point Wellness Spas in Columbia, nominated by the Howard County Economic Development Authority.
Since joining forces in 2007, this dynamic duo has opened 3 locations, launched a new stand-alone skin care product line, Toma Skin Therapies, and created over 175 jobs. The Still Point has been at the forefront of the overall shift from pampering spas to an integrative wellness spa model. The resulting philosophy is to create a holistic environment that not only provides wellness services, but also educates clients on whole health and healing for the mind, body and spirit.
Acupuncture, skin care treatments, nail services, yoga and nutritional-based medicine are among the services offered in their lineup of natural, environmentally friendly therapies. They are committed to maintaining an eco-friendly ethos in all aspects of the business. Facilities are 100% wind-powered and they offer personal care products and treatments that are free of animal cruelty, petrochemicals and parabens.
Both women are licensed practitioners of Acupuncture and both are business savvy risk takers not willing to settle for anything less than offering superior products and excellent customer service. They have developed an extremely efficient system for opening new spa locations, trimming typical spa start-up costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars. They maintain a steady profit margin of 15-20%, well above the industry standard of 10%. The owners have self-funded the majority of their business growth, but did use a SBA 504 loan to acquire real estate for the relocation and expansion of the original Takoma Park location. Likewise, the newest location, Haven on the Lake in Columbia, exceeded their first year projections and called for the addition of four more treatment rooms. The duo turned to the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Catalyst fund to borrow the necessary capital for that expansion.
Somehow in the middle of treating patients, expanding the skin care line and managing multiple locations, Tori and Marla have found time to create “The Still Point Gives Back.” This program has raised thousands of dollars for numerous charities, including: the Ulman Cancer Center for Young Adults, the Howard County Food Bank, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project.