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Valencia spa changes hands

Leisure: New owner seeks to revitalize a ‘diamond in the rough’

Posted: January 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Owner Eric Smith stands in front of The Ivy Day Spa in Valencia on Tuesday. Owner Eric Smith stands in front of The Ivy Day Spa in Valencia on Tuesday.
Owner Eric Smith stands in front of The Ivy Day Spa in Valencia on Tuesday.
Owner Eric Smith, with Faye Morse, in front of The Ivy Day Spa on Town Center Drive in Valencia. Owner Eric Smith, with Faye Morse, in front of The Ivy Day Spa on Town Center Drive in Valencia.
Owner Eric Smith, with Faye Morse, in front of The Ivy Day Spa on Town Center Drive in Valencia.

When Eric Smith was approached to consider buying Glen Ivy Day Spa on Town Center Drive in Valencia, “50 jobs were on the line,” Smith said.

A frequent visitor of spas himself, along with girlfriend Faye Morse, Smith said he had never owned a spa before, but his successes have been in marketing.

But Smith liked the idea.

“I saw a diamond in the rough,” Smith said.

“The Santa Clarita spa has so much potential. We got such a great response from everyone, and the people here have been great,” he said.

So he took the plunge, privately financing the purchase, and took over Dec. 17, renaming the spa The Ivy Day Spa. And Morse went to work redecorating. 

“It was a mutually beneficial opportunity that presented itself at a great time,” said Jennifer Merret, marketing and communications specialist with Glen Ivy.

“It is especially important for everyone involved that all employees and guests are well cared for and the focus has been on The Ivy Day Spa moving forward with positive energy, improvements and plans for enhancing guests’ spa experiences,” she said.

While employees whose jobs were saved are happy, however, some customers of the former spa chain are not.


Gift certificates

A man whose wife went regularly to Glen Ivy Spa says his wife is very unhappy, as she has four gift cards from the old place.

The only existing locations for the old chain where former customers can redeem their gift certificates are in Brea and Corona, 70 to 90 miles away from Santa Clarita, respectively.

A customer of the former spa feels deceived by Glen Ivy, which allowed customers to continue purchasing gift certificates at the Valencia location without any advisories.

She posted on Facebook that she saved for months to purchase six gift certificates from the former owners for her husband at Christmas, with the intent that he could use one every other month in 2012. Now he has to use them all in three months, she posted.

“I am disappointed that there was no mention of this change on the Glen Ivy website when I was purchasing the gift cards,” the customer said.

Glen Ivy Day Spa was asked to comment on the lengthy trip to other Glen Ivy locations, but Merret did not respond or offer any alternatives.

Smith, owner of the new spa, is working with the former chain to help customers through the transition.

The Ivy Day Spa, which began selling its own gift certificates Dec. 17, worked with Glen Ivy to honor customer’s gift certificates on their behalf through March 13 in Valencia, Smith said.

“We notified existing owners through email blasts who were holding the old gift certificates so they’d have the opportunity to come in and redeem them with us,” Smith said.

Buying The Ivy Day Spa and saving it from closure not only allowed Smith to own a business he had long enjoyed as a consumer, but to save the jobs of 50 people, he said.

And then, Smith had to hit the ground running.


New spa

“We were able to keep many people employed,” Smith said, “And we’re excited because we just hired three more people this week.”

Prior to buying the local spa, Smith said he lived part time in Manhattan Beach and part time in Tucson, Ariz. He really wasn’t that familiar with Santa Clarita.

“I thought it was in wine country,” he said.

Since becoming the owner, however, Smith said he is really looking forward to being a part of the community and getting involved with the local chamber.

In the meantime, he’s been busy converting everything over to the new spa and living out of a hotel to ensure the success of the spa.

“I’ve been living at the Hyatt since the 13th (of December),” Smith said.

A lot of money has been spent updating the spa, installing a new phone system and converting all the vendors and products to his business.

“We got 70 percent of it done in less than a month, Smith said.

The Ivy Day Spa kept all of the existing therapists and estheticians, he said because the community loves and raves about them.

“And I hired a manager to manage the business for me, because if you want to be successful, you have to have a good base of loyal employees and customers,” he said.

Once the new operation is firmly in place, Smith plans to bring in chocolate sun tanning made from organic products, as well as offer new services, such free yoga and Pilates classes.

“We’re looking forward to being a part of the community, and I plan to continue spending a lot of time here,” Smith said.

The Ivy Day Spa is located at 24320 Town Center Drive, Valencia, a few doors down from BJ’s restaurant. Customers may also call (661) 260-1244.


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