The owner of Drew Patrick Spa in Bayshore, New York, turned a spark of an idea into a local institution
Just a few years ago, if you’d driven down the main street of Bayshore, New York, on Long Island’s south shore, you would have encountered streets lined with neglected and boarded-up buildings and perhaps a drug abuse clinic and an adult movie theater. Fast-forward to 2013, and Bayshore has experienced a renaissance, sparked in no small part by the launch six years ago of Drew Patrick Spa, situated on a prominent corner of the neighborhood. One of the first facilities to combine spa services with other wellness-oriented activities, Drew Patrick has become a standard-bearer for its community.
Only one year before his spa’s grand opening, Drew Allt, then a meeting planner for a New York City publishing company, had been deliberating about his next career move. He lived in Bayshore, but spent most of his time either commuting into Manhattan or crisscrossing the country to plan events for his employer. Certainly the transformation from this life to that of a local spa owner seemed unlikely, but several factors came into play: 1) Allt found that the highlight of his business trips was always his visits to spas; 2) He had recently suffered a back injury, and rehab included working with a personal trainer, the benefits of which were undeniable; 3) He’d grown up with a mother who was a school nurse, so the wellness concept was ever-present in his life; and 4) His hectic schedule had left him feeling disconnected from his own town.
Analyzing these realities and factoring in some previous retail experience at J. Crew, Allt decided to create a new business that could be a significant participant in the revitalization of downtown Bayshore. His daily commute took him by a beautiful but abandoned limestone, art-deco building right on the main street—a former bank. At 10,000 square feet, it was larger than he needed, but Allt couldn’t get it out of his mind. As the concept for his business took shape, he envisioned all the different ways he could use the space, so he and his partner, Dr. Richard Byrnes (a member of the American College of Aesthetic and Cosmetic Physicians as well as a practicing radiologist), surged ahead and purchased the building in December 2006.
What followed was a six-month, $2 million gut renovation, including upgrades of the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, and the addition of an elevator. Drew Patrick Spa officially opened on July 14, 2007, well ahead of other spa/fusion businesses now in the area. Today, the high ceilings and wide-open expanse of the bank’s former teller area lend themselves to retail temptation, and what was once an awkward corner is now a coffee bar/café. The former mortgage office area have become men’s and women’s locker rooms, a yoga studio and a personal training gym. And the second floor now houses a tranquil waiting lounge and 10 treatment rooms, including a couple’s suite and equipment for medical spa treatments.
Allt believed that having different revenue streams would enable him to broaden his reach in Bayshore, and that the retail and café components would invite foot traffic. However, he still needed to educate the community on the variety of options awaiting them inside the spa. Having a business with so many components is an advantage and a challenge: business diversification is great, but staff can’t necessarily be cross-trained for all of the various disciplines. Still, clients who stopped by for a latte and a scone would inevitably then wander into the retail area, or even inquire about spa services. The fact that Drew Patrick Spa didn’t fit a recognized model didn’t faze locals, who embraced what they found.
Not that there haven’t been a few hiccups. The 1,400-square-foot, well-equipped personal training area was designed to accommodate a couple of trainers and their clients at once, and is accessible from outside. However, Allt wanted a customer service rep manning the desk during hours clients could be in the building, which created the need for staffing as early as 6:30 a.m. Then the recession hit and the demand for personal training services took a dive. After a very quiet 2009, business picked back up in 2010. Today, the spa’s personal training is contracted out to a fitness coach, whose team of six trainers enjoys a regular client base.
In retrospect, Allt sees that building personal training services required more attention and energy than he was able to give in those first years, with so many other facets of the business to tend to. Having other professionals handle it ensures that DPS clients get high-quality attention—and relieves stress for Allt.
Yoga, offered in a studio adjacent to the personal training area and locker rooms, also struggled to find its footing. The practice was not as hugely popular in 2008 as it is today, and even absorbing an existing yoga business down the street didn’t elicit immediate success. According to Allt, the turning points were: 1) being the first in the area to introduce hot yoga, and 2) adopting a monthly membership model. The steady income from memberships allowed the business to provide an instructor regardless of the class size, and the resulting consistent class schedule helped to build foot traffic.
The coffee bar/café, on the other hand, started out as a leased environment, but is now run by DPS customer service staff, who are also trained as baristas. Known for its small-batch soups, scones and multiple flavors of gelato—all homemade on the premises in the basement kitchen—the café also offers ready-made salads, wrap sandwiches and cold drinks, available for plucking from a long counter.
The second floor at Drew Patrick Spa houses a large and comfortable tranquility room, eight spacious treatment rooms, a couples’ suite that can double as an event or meeting room, a medical spa treatment room and an office/dispensary area. The diversified spa has also cultivated a reputation for quality skin care, with an impressive menu of almost 20 high-performance facials and skincare treatments, plus makeup and waxing services. Clients can also choose from nearly 30 massages and body treatments, and some recently added ayurvedic services. For the latter, Allt sent his senior massage and body therapists to Kripalu, the nonprofit health and yoga retreat in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to study, and reports that, “We frequently have clients tell us how much they have enjoyed these spa journeys and that they have never experienced such a profound sense of relaxation.”
On the medical side, the menu includes injectables, IPL, laser hair reduction, chemical and micro peels, and Acoustic Wave Therapy body treatments. “Medical spa services allow us to provide more robust treatments for our clients, achieving better outcomes with a wider variety of options,” says DPS medical director and spa co-owner Byrnes.
Post-treatment, clients return downstairs to a 2,000-square-foot world of retail. The soaring ceiling and marble appointments from the original bank provide a graceful and elegant backdrop for a wide array of products and gifts. Allt and his team regularly scour the markets for new and interesting ideas, and have built Drew Patrick into a gift destination for the area. Yogawear from PrAna, linen clothing from Island Company and Laundromat’s sweaters are found along with bedding and table linens by Sferra, pottery from Jonathan Adler and candles by Nest. Both of Allt’s core skincare products are separately branded private-label.