The dates on the newspapers that lined the cedar chip insulation provide the best evidence of a construction date of the building: 1926.
Since then, 506 Fourth Street East was Vince’s Italian Grocery, and Bocci’s Groceteria — another Italian grocery serving the Southside neighbourhood amongst a small, nearly-extinct cluster of retail shops. When current owner Diane Mahoney bought the building about five years ago, it was in need of serious repair. Faulty sealing of the old coal chutes on the sidewalk had flooded the basement. There were structural issues. The building bowed like a saddle. The back end wasn’t far from falling over. It was a mess.
After five years of work the bright, newly-renovated building is completely transformed into Welwinds Therapeutic Spa. Other than exposed brick chimneys that bring warmth to the treatment rooms, there’s little to indicate its past use. “It’s a historic building that belongs to Revelstoke,” says Mahoney as she tours me through the yoga studio and three treatment rooms in the back.
Wood features prominently in the makeover. Locally-milled tongue and groove cedar planks line the walls; fir, hemlock and other local varieties form everything from structural post and beams to trim on the windows. A barn door suspends from the ceiling to separate the tea bar from the yoga studio.
The colour patterns are concrete greys, light creams and muted environmentally-friendly stains that bring out white and blue hues from the grain. Cream-coloured leather chairs line the concrete-slab tea bar. Clear glass and exposed metal fixtures add to the neutral tones.
The theme, says Mahoney, was unisex. A majority of massage clients are male skiers looking to get their legs rejuvenated to finish off their ski vacation. Lots of men go to yoga classes these days. Mahoney wanted a neutral look so everyone can feel at home.
Mahoney developed the design and worked with Simon Duval of Mack Dog Construction to complete the renovation.
Welwinds Therapeutic Spa is a combination tea bar, yoga studio, massage therapy clinic and acupuncture clinic. Mahoney describes herself as a long-time skier who’s spent much of her life working and playing around skiing. The registered massage therapists spent seasons working in Whistler, Crescent Valley, Nelson, Vernon and Rossland. She’s spent much of her career working as a massage therapist in heli-ski lodges. When came to Revelstoke and bought the building she saw an opportunity to settle down and found a business that would allow her to indulge her love of skiing.
Welwinds Therapeutic Spa is open for business, but Mahoney explains many facets are still in development. Her website (www.welwinds.com) is up but she’s still working on it. Yoga classes have started, but she’s looking to offer specialized classes and also develop the space into a yoga teaching centre.
The tea bar is also open for business. It features a wide variety of loose teas. She hopes to develop the afternoon trade and also make the tea shop a focus of summer Saturday market outings, including a summer patio space. She’s also exploring buying the raw products in bulk and mixing her own locally-made brand; she’s off to a tea convention in Las Vegas to explore the idea.
Mahoney hopes to make the combined tea bar/yoga room space available for non-alcoholic social gatherings.
Massage therapy is at the core of Mahoney’s business, as is acupuncture. “People don’t get better unless they move,” she explains of her core philosophy. Local clients with extended medical will also form a core component of the business.
Much of the business, she explains, follow the rhythms of the ski market. Massage therapists work through the ski season and tend to be mobile. Mahoney hopes that Welwinds can evolve into a centre for practitioners in Revelstoke for the season.
Welwinds Therapeutic Spa is located at 509 Fourth Street East. Find them at www.welwinds.com or call 250-837-6084.