Northeast spotlight :: Spot on healing

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January 18, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
You don’t have to fly all the way to Hawaii to get a sense of what it feels like to experience bodywork on the island. Nell Rueckel, owner of Spot Spa in Northeast and Uptown, is an expert in Lomi Lomi Hawaiian Massage. The specialty is rooted in the Hawaiian philosophy called Huna, which emphasizes healing and harmony. It involves deep, flowing massage strokes.

Rueckel, who also serves as president of the NorthEast Business Association, has been in the wellness business for 16 years. She has studied Chi Qigong and has experience with many other body treatments.

Before she opened Spot Spa in Northeast in 2001, she worked at the Horst Salon in St. Paul (now known as JUUT) and the Aveda spa in Osceola, Wis., before it closed. She did more than 3,000 massages when she worked there.

Spot Spa is tucked below the Bulldog. She has 15 other therapists on board who do all kinds of treatments, including Reiki (a Japanese healing method designed to reduce stress) and Thai massage (a deep massage that involves slow yogic stretches).

DTJ: What drew you to bodywork?

Rueckel: I started to go to  school for sign language. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I moved around quite a bit. I lived in Wyoming. I lived in Hawaii. I moved back here and I just decided out of the blue [to go to massage school]. I had never even gotten a massage.

What’s your take on the neighborhood? What else would you like to see?

The neighborhood has evolved. I think it’s a great place for people to come and shop and play. I’d like to see more. I love I Like You. I love the Stag. I think we’re balancing now.

What have you learned since opening?

Make sure you have advertising funds. I didn’t have any money when I first opened. I worked to pay for the build out. I had no real sense of what was achievable as far as business goes. … I feel like I’m still learning all the time. Infrastructure is so important. I’ve always been pretty good at knowing what the customer vibration is just because I was so entrenched in it for so long. Customer service and being good to yourself. Being able to handle the blows and to learn from even the hardest feedback.   

What are your goals for the business?

I’d like to see Spot grow quite a bit this year. The last two years I’ve been really OK with just holding because of the economy. I’ve been trying to look for ways were we can really grow. I want to feel more grounded in the community that we’re in. I want to feel like we’re here — we’re a stable part of this community. I’m working on another spa concept, too. This business is great, but I would like to branch out a bit. I will always do bodywork though.


Spot Spa

Where: 401 E. Hennepin Ave. & 1600 W. Lake St.