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Downtown’s Woodhouse Spa under new ownership

Ashley Morales

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Woodhouse Spa, located at 75 1st Street South, is now under new ownership. Photos: Ashley Morales.

Woodhouse Spa in downtown St. Pete is now under new ownership.

Jen Clarke, a former finance professional with experience at Deloitte and Goldman Sachs, celebrated the opening of her third Woodhouse Day Spa franchise location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

Originally from New York, Clarke obtained her MBA from Fordham University before working in business valuations for more than 10 years. The St. Petersburg location, nestled behind the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art on 1st Street S., is now her third spa in the Woodhouse franchise.

“I always loved the Woodhouse brand and I used to always frequent the spas as a treat,” Clarke said. “When the opportunity to finally own a location that I had been frequenting for the past 10 years came up, I just jumped on it.”

The Woodhouse Spa offers a range of day spa services, including massages, facials and body treatments. According to the facility’s general manager, the St. Petersburg location is one of more than 80 in the national Woodhouse chain. It opened about five years ago.

With 30 employees currently, Clarke hopes to scale up operations and “hire within the community.” 

In addition, “We noticed that a lot of our guests are new, first-time guests, so I really want to take the initiative and be intentional about reaching out to some of the residents that are here and having them experience the services that we have to offer,” she said. “It’s very important because I feel like the residents are your greatest assets. They’re the ones who support your business. In turn, we can support them by supporting the school districts that they frequent, providing more job opportunities and working with the local businesses here.”

Jen Clarke (fourth from left) celebrated her ownership of St. Petersburg’s Woodhouse Spa with a ribbon cutting alongside her family, employees and members of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, including President and CEO Chris Steinocher (third from right).

At Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, Chris Steinocher, President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber, expressed enthusiasm for the city’s entrepreneurial climate. 

“There’s a signal out there now, there’s a vibration that St. Pete is a place for entrepreneurs,” Steinocher told the Catalyst. “We will see you. We will get you wherever you’re at. We will find you, and now people are finding us. So we really have in the last couple of years seen this influx, this entrepreneurial migration of folks who really understand the scale works for them [here].”

With its downtown location and Clarke’s business acumen, Steinocher said he’s confident her investment into the business will pay off – for her and the city’s residents.

“Entrepreneurs do the most amazing thing – they invest their own money in things that you want,” Steinocher said. “Jen invested a lot of her hard-earned money to make sure this works. That’s why you want entrepreneurs [in your city], and they’re even more awesome when they hire their first person because that literally is now a commitment that they’ve just grown our community. That’s where we’re going to always be, a community that grows our own.”

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