Attracting clientele to Koru is done the old fashioned way: word of mouth. Although von Bernuth has flirted with websites like Living Social and has placed some ads in mainland papers, she has found that the most successful strategy is simply making sure that everyone on the island is aware of the spa’s existence and its offerings. That comes down to pounding the pavement to ensure that Koru brochures are displayed at area hotels, shops and restaurants. Most importantly, von Bernuth says, she makes sure that all of the island workers know about Koru. To familiarize these folks with the spa, she even offers an “Island Day” every Sunday during which BI workers can receive treatments for 35% off.
“People here become a tight community, whether they’re here every year or one summer,” says von Bernuth. And while she admits that the small town feel can occasionally be “frustrating,” she’s quick to add that the close-knit, environmentally conscious community is one of the reasons she fell in love with Block Island in the first place.
“The other day, I needed a handyman, so I went to my friend’s vegan lunch counter, and she told me that I should see this person at one of the local galleries,” von Bernuth relates. “I had to talk to a few more people, but eventually I found the guy I needed. That’s just the way things work here!”
Shari Goldhagen is a New York City-based writer.
Koru Eco Spa
Year opened: 2007
No. of employees: 14
Average service ticket: $130
Product lines: Living Nature, John Masters Organics, Priti NYC, RMS
Most popular treatments: Block Island Sacred Stone Massage; Deep Tissue Massage (50 min./$130 or 80 min./$175); Spa Pedicure
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