From left: Locals Jessica Riley and Laura Oleksow took over ownership of SPA 901 earlier this month.

From left: Locals Jessica Riley and Laura Oleksow took over ownership of SPA 901 earlier this month.

SPA 901 glows under new ownership

Two local entrepreneurs took over ownership of SPA 901 on March 2, bringing both business and spa management experience to the facility.

With full amenities in a luxurious building in the heart of downtown Fernie, new owners Laura Oleksow and Jessica Riley are nothing but thrilled to be taking over SPA 901.

The young local entrepreneurs took over ownership of the spa on March 2, bringing both business and spa management experience to the facility.

“Fernie is kind of like home to me, it’s a place I grew up with and always loved,” Oleksow, who moved to Fernie from the Crowsnest Pass two and half years ago, said.

Now locally owned for the first time, Oleksow and Riley took over the ownership of SPA 901 after being approached by Calgary-based Apex Massage Therapy’s owner Shelly MacGregor.

“It’s a business that we both have loved,” Oleksow said of their decision to take over ownership.

With Oleksow having a background in management and marketing and Riley having nine years of experience in esthetics and massage therapy, the two women complement each other in the spa business.

Oleksow noted, “We complement each other well, she’s more practical, I’m more business, which is a good mix.”

The new owners both became heavily involved in the spa operations when they began working at SPA 901, which opened in 2012. With five years of marketing and management experience in Toronto, Oleksow was promoted to Spa Director in 2013, while Riley, having worked globally, was quickly promoted to Lead Esthetician and Massage Therapist.

“I’ve worked in three different countries globally,” said Riley, adding that she’s worked in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and has now obtained the qualifications for therapy training.

Riley said she plans to work closely with the training and development of staff at SPA 901.

“We see great potential to grow our fantastic team, but we also want to foster individual growth,” said Riley in a press release. “Our vision is to introduce a training and development component to the business that trains our staff according to the highest standards in the industry.”

The spa employs 15 eager team members, including five massage therapists, two B.C. registered therapists, four estheticians and two receptionists, with the youngest employee being just 21 years old and the oldest being in their mid-40s.

“It’s really neat seeing all the age groups run together, and everyone works amazing together,” said Oleksow. “We’re really happy to have a good team.”

The team offers a wide variety of services to their clientele, including relaxation, sports therapy, hot stone and couples massages, along with facials, manicures and pedicures, and in an active community like Fernie, Oleksow recognized how essential these services are.

She added, “Fernie is such an active community and since entering the spa industry in 2013 I’ve seen the benefits of massage therapy, of taking care of yourself and really putting time and energy into yourself.”

Riley went on to say, “From a therapist’s point of view, being able to perform services in an environment like this, not only Fernie but in our facilities, it’s really rewarding.”

Unlike typical day spas, SPA 901 also offers a wide variety of relaxing services to their clientele, including a relaxation room, where visitors can relax on a lounge chair with the lights dimmed, the fireplace on and a warm blanket wrapped around them.

The 6,000 square foot destination spa also provides locals and visitors with an outdoor hot pool and an indoor infrared sauna.

“People come in for one treatment and stay for three to four hours and we encourage them to,” said Oleksow. “Really, a full experience is what we offer. People walk in and they’re just in awe of the building itself because it’s so nice and it’s so well done.”

The young entrepreneur stated that currently 55 per cent of their client base, who they refer to as “weekend warriors” are from Alberta, with the other 45 per cent being locals.

With a strong local clientele, SPA 901 caters to young professionals, males and seniors.

“There’s a lot of young women entrepreneurs,” said Riley.

With less than a month into their contract, Riley and Oleksow already have major plans for the future.

Oleksow noted, “We’re asking everyone to stay tuned because we do have some big plans in the works. We can’t really reveal them yet.”

For more information on the spa visit their website at