Beating The Odds

Kneaded Relief's  fitness room
Kneaded Relief's fitness room

Despite their early mistakes, Schumacher and Harvey managed to establish a solid brand and business in the Madison location—so much so that it wasn’t long before they were looking to expand. Thus began the search for land on which to build their dream spa. However, by the time Kneaded Relief opened the doors of its new 5,300-square-foot space in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, the move had already taken its toll in terms of clients and staff. Although many of the spa’s clients already lived in Fitchburg, a modest-sized town about 10 miles south of the previous location, those based in the state capital weren’t so keen on the change. “Even though Madison is only 15 minutes away, some clients didn’t want to make the drive,” says Schumacher.

And clients weren’t all the couple lost. Some staff didn’t want to make the commute, either. “Or they wanted more freedom, or a more intimate setting,” recalls Schumacher. The move and its aftermath were to deliver one of the couple’s most valuable lessons: “Not everyone is going to mesh in your culture, and that’s okay,” concludes the co-owner. “I say that all turnover is good turnover.”

Stacking the Deck

High staff turnover isn’t a problem at Kneaded Relief these days, thanks to management’s commitment to quality hiring and training, and an envy-inducing benefits package. Schumacher believes in an intensive customer-service focus, and works with staff to establish the highest standards in that regard. To that end, training for all employees involves working the front desk and learning to determine clients’ needs. It also entails receiving services from every other service provider on staff to better equip employees to make specific recommendations for clients. During the first three months of employment, guest surveys help managers and owners assess each employee’s performance.