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Spa Owner Overcomes Challenges and Grows Her Business with help of SBA Loan

Canyon River

Heather Ripplinger opened Canyon River Spa in Bozeman in 2007, after she saw a need to have multiple spa services in one spot.  Heather was a massage therapist, new mom and wife of a deployed military serviceman, when she thought of the idea to open a full-service spa.  She was often referring her clients for facials and hair services, and decided to open a spa/salon where clients could get all their treatments at one facility.  Canyon River Spa offers massage, facials and other skincare treatments along with nail and haircare services in a luxurious setting that allows clients to relax and rejuvenate. 

Two years into her business a fire caused extensive damage to the spa.  According to the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an estimated 25 percent of businesses do not reopen following a major disaster, but with Heather’s determination and devotion to the business, she was able to rebuild.  Her insurance only covered a portion of the expenses; therefore she had to take out an additional loan of $50,000.

Heather is driven by a challenge and as business continued to grow, she knew she wanted to expand; she had her eye on a vacant space in the neighboring unit.  Once the opportunity arose for her to lease the space, she jumped on it.  Bank of Bozeman funded the expansion, along with debt consolidation (including the loan taken out for the fire damage), with an SBA guaranteed loan in June of 2015.

“The expansion has been my best business decision yet!” stated Ripplinger. 

The new loan lowered her debt payments by $2,000 a month, as well as saving her another $1,500 on laundry service that she now does in-house - thanks to her new laundry space which includes two washers and two dryers. 

Opening the new expanded site has also allowed her to increase her hair stations from seven to 12, add two more check-out areas, two additional make-up stations as well as expand her retail products for more accessibility, creating a new “experiential” style of retail.  She also added a tanning bed and will be able to add at least three more treatment rooms in the original space. 

Over seven years, and three kids later, Heather has surpassed sales goals, beat the odds of reopening after a disaster, and continues to grow and expand her business.