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Great Escape

All wound up about what kind of business to start? Then take a hint from the millions of Americans looking to break away from the daily grind--head to a day spa.

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This story appears in the December 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With all the attention focused these days on holistic remedies, organic produce and botanical beauty products, it's no surprise that interest in spa treatments is on the rise. Everyone from harried executives to soccer moms-and baby boomers in particular-is eager to try anything that keeps them looking younger and feeling better. That makes this the perfect time to take the plunge into one of the hottest personal-service businesses around: the day spa.

Day spas offer the same beauty and wellness services as pricier destination spas and resorts but don't require the same time commitment. According to the ISPA 2002 Spa Industry Study from the International SPA Association (ISPA), there were nearly 156 million spa visits in the United States in 2001, 68 percent of which were made to day spas. Revenues for the U.S. spa industry were nearly $11 billion in 2001, up from $5 billion two years earlier. Yet this spending occurred at fewer than 10,000 spa locations nationwide-75 percent of which are day spas-meaning the market is open for new spa owners.

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