The West End (not to be confused with The Village of West Greenville) is yet another local area that is rich with it’s own unique history.
This week I’m excited to feature one of the first entrepreneurs to put roots into the West End as we see it today.
Meet Stacy Coulter. Although she lived in eight different states before she was 12, she has called Greenville home for over 20 years. Stacy owns and operates The Spa at West End.
“I always wanted to own my business,” Stacy told me. “I came across the concept of a day spa in 1997. At the time this was a new idea. In those days people thought of spas as resorts and destinations.”
She continued, “When I opened my doors in 2000, the West End wasn’t the greatest part of town. But not being from here, I just saw the West End as this cute, untapped, area. There was only one other business on my block which was an old Greek liquor store.”
She laughed, and then recalled to me the story of her ribbon cutting, “The mayor gave a speech out front and as he was painting this glorious picture of what the West End would be one day, a drunk guy stumbled out of the liquor store and started making a scene. It’s funny how different it is now compared to then.”
Back then there were tires in the Reedy River, and you could barely see it for all the weeds. To get her name out, Stacy networked 24/7. She went through the Leadership Greenville program, became a member of the chamber, and joined the board for United Way young philanthropists.
Unfortunately, It wasn’t easy to get her doors open. She found it incredibly difficult to get financial backing. Ten different banks turned her away, including her personal banker. Nevertheless, she persisted and when she heard that her bank had hired a female commercial lender she went back to try again. The lender fell in love with the concept. “She saw the vision that I had.”
Stacy recently hosted the local women’s networking group “Girl Boss Greenville” at her Spa. "I’m drawn to those girls because they remind me of when I started out. They’re full of passion and that’s so important. If you’re not passionate about your endeavor, then don’t bother. You have to live it. Breathe it. Eat it. Sleep it. Once you are in, be all in.”
The spa’s business grew every year for the first 8 years. In 2008 they took a hit, but since 2013, they have grown steadily each year.
Seventeen years later, clients who were there from the beginning still come regularly. “I’ve seen clients get married, have kids,” Stacy said. “I had a girl who came by recently tell me about having her bachelorette party here, and now she has three kids.”
The Spa has a unique and inviting atmosphere. The building itself was built in 1890 with additions made in the 20’s and 30’s. They encourage their clients to come early and stay late, maybe even take a nap. Come enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, champagne, tea, or mimosa. They want you to have “me time.”
“I’m having fun right now,” Stacy said. “Lately we’ve been somewhat re-identifying ourselves, freshening up, and getting new fun products such as beard care. A lot of people don’t realize that we have a hair salon. Of course, our #1 selling service always has been and probably always will be a massage.”
I find it fascinating that Stacy’s building was vacant for 15 years before she moved in with the Spa. Think about what Greenville is today, particularly the West End. Now it is a thriving, unique, and bustling part of town… but for years it sat empty. It’s incredible to think about the transition this city has made, to become a travel destination for people from around the world.
Stacy was a front runner for the West End as we know it today. If you want to get some insight on the transition Greenville has made, the history of the West End, and to get a massage, I highly recommend you go see her at The Spa At West End.