Joy Wanzer-Weaver was working at a spa in Battle Creek in 2017 when a client came to her with a unique reason to see a massage therapist.
The man had recently suffered a stroke and could not raise his right arm because of the pain. Her daughter was getting married soon and the man wanted to dance with her at her wedding.
At the end of their session, the man held his right hand up in the air and started to cry, she said. Wanzer-Weaver joins him.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do – touch lives,” she said.
Wanzer-Weaver said this moment gave her the validation she needed.
On Sunday, she opened the doors of JQ Massage and Wellness at 2 W Michigan Ave. in downtown Battle Creek.
“The Only Way I Could Use My Full Value”
Wanzer-Weaver remembers watching television in 2008 and constantly seeing commercials for Everest College. The school had a location in Kalamazoo and taught massage therapy.
The commercials ran so often that she stopped listening to them, but once she did. And she couldn’t help but think about the possibility of being a massage therapist.
“They played over and over, but all it took was this time I just started listening,” she said.
Around the same time, Wanzer-Weaver’s mother won a raffle for a free massage. When her mother told her, she asked if she could come too.
“I just wanted to watch,” she said. “I ended up liking what I saw.”
Wanzer-Weaver graduated from Everest College, Kalamazoo in 2009. She spent the next decade working in various massage firms and chiropractic offices in Southwest Michigan, but she did not have the impression of reaching its potential.
“I felt the only way to use my full value was to open my own place,” she said.
Her husband, Dereck Weaver, who has a background in management, helped her through the process.
“Finance, maintenance, promotions, policy writing, whatever you want,” he said.
Weaver had never received a professional massage before meeting her, and he knew she had a future the moment she gave him her first massage.
“I was blown away. I was like ‘Oh my god. I had no idea,” he said.
Valerie Byrnes, Director of Retention and Business Development for the Battle Creek Small Business Economic Development Fund, sees success in their future because of their proximity to so many downtown businesses.
“This is going to be handy for a lot of people who can maybe take 30 minutes off work in the middle of the day to go see her,” she said.
What do they offer?
Wanzer-Weaver offers 13 different services that range from standard deep tissue massages to more specialized services like pregnancy massages and face and scalp massages.
Prices start at $ 40 for a 30-minute Swedish massage and increase with the length and type of service.
Wanzer-Weaver encourages new clients who do not have experience with massages to come to the spa and discuss the different types of services.
She is the only therapist currently working, but she is looking to hire two more therapists over the next few months, so that she can support multiple clients and provide couples massage service.
“This is just the start,” she said.
The process evolved quickly for the couple, and Weaver encouraged his wife to cherish the fact that she was chasing her dream.
“I want her to enjoy this moment,” he said.
Wanzer-Weaver still has nerves about starting a business, but it all goes away when she thinks of the joy of starting her own business.
“I would ask my husband, ‘Do you think I can do this?’ Because that’s a big deal, especially when you sign that lease because there’s no going back and you risk everything, ”she said. “But I’m so happy and it’s so amazing. I think that’s all that matters.”
Contact Brooks Hepp at (269) 223-0114 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @BrooksHepp.