by Jim Boyle
The same businesswoman who brought Elk River its first day spa to her hometown is at it again.
This time, however, the possibilities are limitless.
Deana (Larsen) McLean, who burst onto scene in 1994 at 25 years of age with Waterfall Salon and Day Spa, has opened an all-encompassing wellness center that has been named Little Rejuvenation Station.
It’s operating in the same location as Waterfall once did, but the purpose of this business includes many partners and goes far beyond the confines of an ordinary salon and day spa. The Rejuvenation Station has been developed to provide healing of the mind, body and soul.
“What we’re doing here is what people drive to Minneapolis for,” McLean says.
“We’re a wellness center, and much more than just a salon or another business that does just one thing or another. We’re bringing it all under one roof.”
McLean hatched the idea about a half-dozen years ago, but she didn’t sense the community was ready for it.
“People weren’t open enough,” she recalls. “You can feel people are out looking and searching for this.”
So when an opportunity arose this past November to take over the building her parents owned at 705 Main Street, she and the others she had been conversing with about her business plan seized the opportunity.
A week-long renovation project commenced bringing together the ideas that had been percolating and matching them up with walls, paint and lighting to provide the proper shimmer.
“The space was filled with warm colors, new energy and the work was done with passion and love,” McLean said. “With elegant chandeliers hung and the trickling water from the healing angel fountain centered in the middle of the wellness center and salon, I couldn’t imagine what more I could want.”
McLean proudly gave tours on Jan. 31 after a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Walking into the lower level of calming blues you will find the Serenity Haven of Manicures, room for energy work, life coaching, massage, rain drop therapy, reconnective healing, reflexology, acupuncture, luxury pedicures and a comfortable sitting area for reading or group meetings.
In the upper level there is space for professional styling stations, acrylic nail stations, a full service waxing room, a full-service retail area of hair products of many types, holistic products, including unique and inspirational gifts and much, much more.
“People walking by and driving by have been stopping to see what’s all going on in here,” McLean said.
McLean and her business partners are working hard to establish the comforts of being home, and remaining open to the many yet to be discovered possibilities.
One such idea that came forward was a class for people who have lost their spouse. The question from a customer was “would you be willing to open your doors to me.” The answer was “yes.”
The Rejuvenation Station has also opened its doors to a book exchange whereby people can bring in old, used books and trade them for books already on a stairway bookshelf half-way between the upper level and lower level of the wellness center.
Visitors are welcome to stop in and read and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. McLean encourages women with children involved in activities to stop over while the children are busy to steal a few moments of “me time.”
There’s also a retail area with holistic items geared toward women who may be in need of inspiration or help with battling a disease such as cancer.
McLean has a heart for people who are going through adversity. It’s a force that appears even stronger than her entrepreneurial spirit.
“For as long as I can remember I have wanted to develop something significant,” McLean says. “My passion is helping people. I want to make sure I will be making a huge difference in the world before something happens to me.”
At 25 that meant opening the Waterfall Salon and Day Spa, following the lead set by her father, Dennis Larsen, who inspired her by owning and operating several businesses while she was growing up.
She started her first business with three tanning beds, a massage room, facial room, nail area and a selection of Aveda products.
The business grew but was destroyed by fire. in 1996.
After that happened, her parents, Dennis and Cathy, purchased the building allowing McLean to continue on.
She found the time amidst it all to become a teacher for Tammy Taylor Nails out of Irvine Calif.
But after eight years, McLean sold the Waterfall Salon and Day Spa to pursue other opportunities, including ones that would allow her to work from home and be with her family more.
That included getting educated in the real estate and mortgage industry. Once she was working in the industry, she applied her own style. She went to people’s homes to drum up business and most of her closings were done sitting around a kitchen table rather than an office or board room table.
She’ll never forget her first commercial closing with Dr. Amy Harbaugh, a chiropractor who began a practice in Buffalo and impacted many lives before cancer took her life. “She was amazing to work with and will never be forgotten,” McLean said.
While working in real estate, McLean had been putting her business plan on paper. She entered a partnership for a salon in Otsego in 2008, but after nine months McLean decided it was not personally working out and chose to go on her own.
It was in 2009 that she began doing nails, pedicures, manicures and reflexology out of the lower level of the building she had been running The Waterfall Salon and Day Spa out of 11 years ago.
McLean’s work with reflexology, which works pressure points and releases toxins in helping people feel at peace, has led her to a variety of clients, including some who have been terminally ill with cancer and ones she has made house calls on.
The connections she has made with people have been life-altering. She fondly recalls one client she was with right up until her death.
“She loved when I came to the door,” she recalled. “You learn that what you have given this person is something they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. You’re able to touch them with positive words and affirmations.”
As she connected with more and more clients, the idea of the wellness center began to gel. It was she and Paulie Skaja-Bell, a life and career coach, who began to assemble the pieces of a wellness center.
Skaja-Bell, who does energy work including Reiki, Hands on Healing, Healing Touch, Qigong and Cleansing Flow, had connections with people in the wellness field.
By the time the opportunity to take over the entire space arose, the energy that had been pooled between McLean and Skaja-Bell was too strong to overlook.
Little Rejuvenation Station also features the Rev. Kari Murlowski, owner and founder of The Integration Station. She is a holistic educator who specializes in Brain Gym, emotional release, essential oils/aromatherapy, angel readings and raindrop therapy. She encourages clients to discover how self-healing therapies can reduce stress, pain, inflammation, anxiety overcome learning challenges and addictions.
Dwight Raatz, of Know Thyself Healing, provides Reconnective Healing, a process by which frequencies of energy, information and light are taken and re-tuned.
By combining various aspects of wellness in a salon setting, McLean says there is an openness at the wellness center that fosters healing. It’s an atmosphere that McLean says people won’t find at a doctor’s office or in a counseling office. “It comes from people working together to make this happen,” McLean said.
Little Rejuvenation Station has already hosted team-building events for athletic teams and plans to hold “Tranquility New Nights” that will offer folks an evening of pampering.
McLean says she is also open to Bible studies, book clubs and a variety of classes on topics ranging from aromatherapy to health and nutrition.
Little Rejuvenation Station operators even have plans for “Possibility Parties” to get ladies out for an evening of pampering and inspirational healing.
The possibilities are semmingly endless.