Get to know: Emily MacIntosh of Annex Spa
Tell us about your work.
We’re a full spa with registered massage therapy, facials, waxing, and nail services.
We were fortunate that massage therapy was declared essential so we were able to keep some business coming in, but the last year has been stressful. Still, every time we open we’re jammed immediately the first day back. No warm up period – it’s just right back at it!
We have clients from Montréal or Toronto who say Annex feels like a spa from a bigger city. I’m assuming they meant it as a compliment!
It’s a vibe we create. We don’t have dress codes for our staff or typical spa music playing here. It’s a much more relaxed environment which we love, and our clients seem to love it too.
What do you love about Kingston?
I find Kingstonians have been incredibly supportive. They are diehards in terms of helping us do well. I’m not from Kingston but I’m so happy to be here. I feel like I’ve been welcomed here, and our two locations have thrived because of that.
We tend to fill up with regular clients; the local Kingstonians. I feel like every client I’ve had, we end up seeing eight extended family members from them.
I grew up north of Toronto and cottage country was always really far away. Here, it’s 30 minutes and you’re there. That’s my absolute favourite part of this town. And if you need to get away, you’re close to Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal.
Why start your own business?
I studied economics and math at Queen’s years ago – that’s how I fell in love with Kingston. I just hated working in an office, so I became a massage therapist. That’s how I met my business partner, who got me my first job in Kingston. Tiffany has been amazing in helping me get to know everybody here.
Could you tell us about a customer you served recently that really made you smile?
When most places were locked down, we were still open. People were coming in here and it was their social time. What I said and how I said it was almost as important as what I was doing during a treatment. People would tell me this was the highlight of their week or month because they were stuck at home with kids or on the computer all day and they needed to get out.
All of a sudden, we become a sanctuary for them during the lockdown.
What are a few of your favourite businesses in Kingston?
We’ve started carrying a lot of local products over the last couple of years to feature local entrepreneurs including candles, headbands, scarves, masks, and essential oil rollerballs.
The owner of Twelve Five Candles is amazing and always helps us out. She actually made an Annex Spa scent we just brought out recently. The candles are ridiculously popular and we cannot keep them on the shelf!
Days on Front has always been my favourite restaurant. I used to live in the west-end and it was wonderful to have something out there that was different from a chain restaurant. Casa Domenico and Tango Nuevo are huge go-to’s for my husband and I and most of our friends.
The Kingston Olive Oil company is one of my favourites for something a bit special around the holiday time.
Cooke’s, of course, has been here forever and they expanded recently. That has become a weekly venture for me!
Small and medium businesses create nine out of ten Canadian jobs.
– Statistics Canada –
Canadian businesses have taken on tens of billions of dollars in debt, and many are struggling to repay.
– Statistics Canada –
At least half of every dollar spent at local businesses stays local.
– multiple North American studies –
Kingston was one of the Canadian economies most impacted by COVID-19.
– Conference Board of Canada –
Small businesses need our help.
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