Step into Diva’s Day Spa and be transformed. Tall, elegant Jane Moates, the owner and operator of Diva’s Hair and Day Spa is all about transformation. Diva’s is a busy and flourishing 8-year old-day spa in the center of the universe, Ashland, Va.
Moates comments about her title, “I want the world to know that even as an owner, I am an operator and work in my business.” And work she does, in a business that transforms its clients from the stressed and the ordinary into the pampered and well-groomed. Whether it is hair treatment, a manicure or pedicure, facial, full body spa, or all of these wrapped into one special package, the business caters to the well-being of its clients. Jane’s busy calendar shows that clients find that their time at the spa is a day worth remembering.
Jane Moates converted a former Golden Skillet restaurant building into her day spa by using the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Certified Development Company, 504 Loan Program. She distinctly recalls driving by this building in 1996 and dreaming that someday she would be able to buy the building for her beauty business. She envisioned turning the dilapidated, brick building which had ample parking and great demographics, into what is now Diva’s Day Spa.
The 504 Loan Program, Jane states, “. . . was the vehicle that allowed me to buy the building and establish a permanent location for my business. Our staff has grown to 10 employees. Our revenue and client base after buying and expanding the building have both increased.”
The CDC - 504 Loan Program a financing tool used to promote economic development. The program provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for acquisition of major fixed assets such as land and buildings. A CDC is a nonprofit corporation set up to contribute to the economic development of its community. CDCs work with the SBA and private sector lenders to provide financing to small businesses. There are seven authorized certified development companies serving Virginia small businesses.
Since 1998, when Moates received her financing through James River Certified Development Company, geographical boundaries established by the program for specific CDCs have been eliminated and competition among Virginia’s seven Certified Development Companies has increased.
Jane Moates is excited about this change. She said, “Competition keeps everyone honest and the small business customer truly realizes the benefit of customer service and choice.”
Diva’s Hair and Day Spa transforms the lives of its employees by providing a secure and safe working environment as well as health and dental benefits for its full-time employees. Jane takes pride in being able to provide something that is relatively unheard of in her industry, regardless of the significant cost to the business.
The philosophy that has served her well says, if you take care of your employees, they will take care of the business. Diva’s Hair and Day Spa has had only one full time employee leave in the last five years. “Such a low-turnover is unusual in the industry,” said Moates.
Diva’s also maintains quality employees by participating in the Virginia Apprenticeship Program through the Virginia Technical Career Center. Businesses select a suitable candidate from high school candidates that come from difficult family circumstances, have made some poor choices or experienced other hardships. By participating in this program, Diva’s can offer the apprentice a tool to transform their lives by offering the security of a profession.
The transformation that Moates holds dearest is not seen by many. Its origins reach back to her humble beginnings in Richmond’s Dumbarton neighborhood. Jane’s father, Otis Morris, was a Southern Baptist milkman and raised four children with the expectation that everyone would chip in and help.
"If something needed to be done, my family often looked to ‘tomboy’ Jane to tackle the task.” At age 17, her path took a turn from her conservative Southern Baptist roots. She quit school and had to move from her home. She was on her own and her ‘task-tackling’ attitude was put to work. She worked three jobs and put herself through beauty school. Moates educational detour gave her the opportunity to excel on her general equivalency diploma (GED) and gain experience that enhanced her business acumen. She learned real-life lessons in customer service from those experiences.
From framing and laying the sheetrock for Diva’s renovation to cleaning old chicken grease from the ceiling, and juggling busy schedules and wedding party concerns to caring for her sick husband of 23 years, Larry, Moates did, and still does it, all with a radiant smile.
Diva’s Hair and Day Spa’s backbone is Jane Moates, a transformation wizard. The passion she offers to the community is the same passion that motivates her. “When someone tells me that it can’t be done or it is impossible, that is when I dig deep within and want to find a way to make it happen.”
Would Moates change anything if she had a chance? “No way,” she states, “I am grateful for everything that has happened to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences and the inspiration and support of my husband Larry,” she reflects.
Diva’s Hair and Day Spa, with a flick of the wand, has become a vibrant, successful, and happening place in the center of the universe.