The spa business opened in mid-February 2020, but the chamber took the opportunity to welcome them in 2021.
A symphony of self-care services has been available in Harbour Square for more than a year, but Symphony Massage was officially welcomed to the community with a celebratory ribbon-cutting on Nov. 16, thanks to the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce.
Symphony Massage is already part of the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, so chamber President Gail Loefgren was in attendance to host the ceremony, along with ribbon-holders and chamber ambassadors Kellie Spring and Jack Dean. Mayor Ken Schneier came too, but it was owner James Graves’ daughter, Brianna Graves, who did the honors with the giant scissors.
Owner Chrissy Stites and Graves moved to the Sarasota area in 2018 and saw an opportunity to open Symphony Massage in December 2019. Stites has been a massage therapist for 21 years and worked at a wellness center in New Jersey for 13 years. Her team, consisting of esthetician Susan Udermann and massage therapists Cynthia Krizo and Tammie Friday, also has a lot of experience.
Stites and Graves opened in February 2020 — Feb. 19, to be exact. They then shut their doors on March 1 because of the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they’ve been able to interact with the community and build a base of clients once they were able to reopen.
“We went through the pandemic, survived and came out the other side stronger,” Stites said.
Though it’s called Symphony Massage, there’s more on offer than just massages. Udermann, an esthetician, does facials and facial waxing. Stites, who has allergies to ingredients often used in skincare, picked the gentle Phytomer line, which she can use without issue and hopes will be easy on clients’ faces, too. As for massage, Stites herself is trained in several forms, as well as in cupping therapy and lymphatic drainage. Friday offers sports, prenatal and clinical massage, while Krizo offers therapeutic massages. There’s also Thai massage available.
“What we want to be known for is the ability to give the community something different, something they haven’t had before, to make them feel better,” Stites said. “We know we have an active community out here. We want this to be a comfortable space for them.”
Stites is devoted to making Symphony Massage a place of the community. Local art is on the walls, there are shark teeth found nearby local beaches, Longboat Key photographer Mary Lou Johnson was at the ribbon cutting signing books and the retail that Stites carries is by her friends — malas and bracelets by sisters she knew in high school and sunglasses by a friend from the 2000’s.
“We really hope to be able to grow bigger and be a longstanding part of the community,” Stites said. “I finally feel like I’m home.”
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