Now LeAnn Ebersviller knows how Goldilocks must have felt.
Finding the perfect store for her 13-year-old business, Aquablue, has been a bit like the plot of the well-worn children's tale.
Her first store was too small. Her second location was too big. Her third and current location, inside the Family Fare grocery store at 1100 13th Ave. E., West Fargo, is also a bit small, at just 450 square feet.
Now Ebersviller is hoping her new store, slated to open May 11 in Fargo, will be j-u-u-s-t right.
The new Aquablue, which will be relocated to the Western Center at 4302 13th Ave. S., is 1,700 square feet. This will give Ebersviller plenty of room to add a third Aquamassage table, expand on her current inventory of jewelry and gifts, and host self-improvement classes.
"It's exciting to be in a busy area," Ebersviller says. "People pass through there frequently, so I'll get more exposure and it will let us expand a bit more quickly, to help more people."
Although Aquablue isn't a chain - not yet, anyway - Ebersville named it to refer to her special water-massage beds made by Aquamassage International. Clients lay down inside a closeable bed, and - while protected by a waterproof blanket - are massaged by 36 water jets that run across and up and down the body.
The customer has control over how intense the water pressure is, and can pause the jets to work on trouble spots. The pressure can range from an intense deep-tissue massage - which Ebersville likens to sitting right in front of a jet in a hot tub - to a gentle relaxation massage. "We have kids under 10 even coming in and doing it," she says.
Ebersville says it's an affordable and convenient way to pamper yourself - especially if you don't have time for regular, hour-long massage therapy appointments. And because it's relatively inexpensive - ranging from $20 for a 20-minute one-off massage to an unlimited monthly package for $64 - people can prevent problems before they start.
Those who need deep-tissue massage also find the Aquamassage less painful, because the jets pulse intermittently, which gives the body micro-breaks vs. constant, intense pressure, she says.
But it's probably the control aspect of the massage that is its biggest advantage. For a $5 upcharge, customers can just walk in and ask if there's a bed open. They also don't need to undress to get the massage. Ebersviller says the convenient, touch-free atmosphere is one reason that men love the massage beds.
"It takes a little work for women to get their husbands and boyfriends to come in, but once they do, it's the guy who says, 'Oh, we need to have that,'" she says. "It's just another one of those things where it's not a spa. It's a more flexible environment for everyone in between."
Ebersviller's model of accessible pampering extends to all areas of Aquablue. She carries a line of gifts, ranging from $10 to $30, that include message charms and jewelry, wall hangings, essential oils, diffusers, shower bursts and guided journals. As early as 2008, she was one of the first retailers in the area to introduce gifts bearing inspirational messages and sayings.
For Ebersviller, these gifts aren't as much about profit as they are about pep talks. "The whole idea behind the store was just little things to help you get through your day," she says. " And seeing that little inspirational message at your desk, or having that piece of jewelry that's special and you just peek inside, you can remember, 'OK, I need to relax, or I need to have more confidence, or whatever.'"
Her emphasis on life-enhancement also applies to classes. In late May or early June, she hopes to offer a class on "realistic and functional minimalism." She describes the goal as "how to make your daily life as easy as possible, and still enjoying the things you want to enjoy. So it's getting organized, but you don't have to be so extreme."
And, because she thinks shows on organization too often concentrate on one dramatic purge, she'd like to offer an ongoing series of classes that help participants get back on track once the clutter begins to creep back into the home.
Ebersviller also envisions classes on topics such as body image and enhancement of self-confidence.
While it's taken a while for Ebersviller's Aquablue to find just the right home, she loves how the business allows her to help others. The Vergas native holds a master's degree in business administration from Minnesota State University Moorhead and has worked in a series of corporate environments, but always missed honoring her creative side. "Here, I get to use both sides," she says.
Aquablue retail hours are from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., although advance Aquamassage appointments can be made from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Schedule an appointment by contacting 701-281-6465 or going to www.shopaqua.blue