With hot pink accents and one wall covered in zebra-print graffiti art, is not your ordinary Winchester spa. That’s by design, according to owner Michelle Buonopane, who describes the style of her business as “urban chic” and “young and fun.”
“I don’t want to be like everyone else,” Buonopane said, just after detailing her new plans for the parking lot in front of the small Skillings Road spa. She’s planning to paint the parking lot lines hot pink, with curbstones done in either leopard or brocade.
In additional to her usual clients, Buonopane hopes to draw in girls from , located just down the street, by offering “ice cream pedicures.” These come in flavors, such as chocolate scrub and marshmallow and caramel foot bath. The spa also offers prom makeup specials and manicure-pedicure specials. Even facials come in ice cream flavors, such as an organic chocolate mask. All the facials are done with organic products, which Buonopane said is very popular. Waxing is one of the spa’s most requested services.
Buonopane took over this space, formerly occupied by the Chill Zone, in November. She and her staff did a lot of work on the building, much of it themselves. They’re pretty well settled in at this point, though Buonopane still has plans in the works. For the moment, the spa consists of one large downstairs space for manicures and pedicures, combined with the reception area. There’s a private room off that for facials. Up a narrow spiral staircase is the massage room, and a space Buonopane eventually plans to turn into a makeup room. The downstairs facial room is also available for use as a massage space for those who can’t make it up the spiral stairs.
Last November, Sweet Escape moved from its previous Winchester location at Swanton and Washington. The move seemed ideal, said Buonopane, because it was a bigger space and would allow her to offer nail services, which she wasn’t a possibility before since there was already another nail salon in the area. A native of Winchester, Buonopane had her eye on the Skillings Road space for a long time.
“I’ve always wanted this place,” she said, “so when I saw this place had come up, I decided it was time to move.”
This wasn’t even her first move. Buonopane originally opened Sweet Escape Spa in Somerville’s Davis Square seven years ago. There, she enjoyed the young, hip professional vibe, but said business dried up when the economy went into a downslide. She decided to move back to her hometown, and said it’s been a good move.
“I love it,” Buonopane said. “I love being back in the town I grew up in.”
Just because she’s settled in Winchester doesn’t mean Buonopane is done with change, though. She said one of the things she loves most is learning new techniques, and she herself is always changing and improving. After graduating from Winchester High School, she went on to college and then an MBA. Now she’s back in school for a master’s degree in therapy.
“I basically do therapy all day anyway,” she said, noting her clients talk to her about their lives. Buonopane has no plans to leave the spa; she expects to find a way to do both. No matter how she does it, one can only venture there might be animal prints involved.