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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.

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 surprisethat interest in spa treatments is on the rise. Everyone fromharried executives to soccer moms-and baby boomers in particular-iseager to try anything that keeps them looking younger and feelingbetter. That makes this the perfect time to take the plunge intoone of the hottest personal-service businesses around: the dayspa.

Day spas offer the same beauty and wellness services as pricierdestination spas and resorts but don't require the same timecommitment. According to the ISPA 2002 Spa Industry Studyfrom the International SPA Association (ISPA), there were nearly156 million spa visits in the United States in 2001, 68 percent ofwhich were made to day spas. Revenues for the U.S. spa industrywere nearly $11 billion in 2001, up from $5 billion two yearsearlier. Yet this spending occurred at fewer than 10,000 spalocations nationwide-75 percent of which are day spas-meaning themarket is open for new spa owners.

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