Daily Star photo/KATIE ROHMAN Essential Kneads moved from The Shoppe Hair Salon when it closed to the Majerek Professional Center, 1011 Broadway, Suite 6, Niles. Pictured from left: Ciera Trexler, massage therapist; Jenny Bauer, co-owner and massage therapist; and Nikki Kidwell, co-owner and massage therapist.

Massaging good deals

Published 10:41pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

A new massage therapy business in Niles has established most of its clients through the use of Groupon and LivingSocial promotions.

Jenny Bauer and Nikki Kidwell, sisters and owners of Essential Kneads Massage Therapy, claim about 90 percent of their business has come from LivingSocial and now Groupon as well.

“I don’t think we would be where we are now if it weren’t for LivingSocial,” Bauer said.

Essential Kneads opened last year in The Shoppe Hair Salon in downtown Niles.

Bauer, a 1994 Niles High School alumna, and Kidwell, a 2004 NHS grad, saw their dream of opening a massage business come to fruition after attending a nine-month certification program at Holistic Wellness Academy.

To gain more clients, the new entrepreneurs offered a deal through LivingSocial, an online discount deal business. They sold hundreds of discounted massages, which are redeemable for up to one year.

When The Shoppe closed last month, they relocated to the Majerek Professional Center, 1101 Broadway St., and hired a classmate from massage school, Ciera Trexler, of Elkhart.

After experiencing such resounding success from LivingSocial, Kidwell and Bauer decided to give Groupon a try, and from Feb. 6-9, they offered $19 one-hour massages for purchase. An hour-long massage is usually $45 full-price.

In less than a week, they sold 456 massages redeemable for up to six months.

“It was a good deal,” Bauer said.

Bauer and Kidwell said when they started their business, they wanted to offer massage therapy for the average income person.

“We can’t afford to spend that much, so we knew we wanted to have other people be able to enjoy themselves and relax,” said Bauer, a mother of six.

Essential Kneads has clients of all ages and a growing customer base of men. Many customers have redeemed a LivingSocial or Groupon deal, and then referred the business to their friends.

The sisters have begun to establish a loyal customer base, and they are excited about not just the growing income, but the new relationships with community members as well.

“They’ll come back the next time and say, ‘I feel so much better,’” Kidwell said.

“The thing that gets me going is when people say, ‘That’s the best massage I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot of massages,’” Bauer said.

Essential Kneads offers half-hour, hour and 90-minute massages are available, as well as prenatal and couples massages.

It is open Monday through Saturday by appointment. Call (269) 240-4797 or visit Essential Kneads on Facebook for more information.

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