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New Spa in W. Columbia; Trader Joe’s stays mum

kruponJanuary 11, 2013 

— Marci Delaney has opened an “intimate in-town oasis” in an old bank building at 131 State St. in West Columbia.

Spa 131 offers massages, facials, body scrubs, spray tans and a range of other services. The new spa is a dream come true for Delaney, who visited spas all over the country in her travels with her former employer, Avon.

“The first thing I would do when I would go to a different city is to book spa services,” she said. “I’ve been to spectacular spas and had good services and had mediocre services. I know what I expect.”

One of her favorites is the spa at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, where Delaney said she has had every service offered.

“When the elevator doors open on the fourth floor of the Grove Park Inn and that scent hits my nose, I just breathe in deeply, and I just know immediately that I am going to be relaxed and that I am going to feel entirely different than I did when those elevator doors first opened.”

That is the kind of experience that she aims to deliver at her new facility.

“When you visit a spa, your stress is diminished, your outlook on life is brighter, you stand a little taller, you just feel so much better,” she said. “We live in such a stress-induced society, everybody’s wound up. … We’ve all got so much on our shoulders. Part of our overall well being is to get rid of some of that stress.”

Soothing music permeates the atmosphere throughout Spa 131, which features a sitting room with healthy snacks and drinks, such as a tea and naturally flavored water.

Delaney has two massage therapists on staff with private rooms, and she is a skin-care specialist who had her on own practice for three years before opening the spa. The spa offers a range of services, including a $40 make-up session, a $60 half-hour massage or a $90 guys “power” lift facial, as well as packaged services and couples retreat days.

“It is all about the whole body,” Delaney said. “We really want to make a difference and an impact on people’s wellness.”

Trader Joe’s tight-lipped on opening date

Signs are up at the new Trader Joe’s at 4502 Forest Drive, but the company is remaining close-lipped about the opening date.

The low-cost grocery store chain with a cult-like following has said it will open its first store in the Columbia market within the first three months of 2013. It put a “coming soon” banner up this week, but Forest Acres officials had the unapproved banner removed, city manager Mark Williams said.

Efforts to reach Trader Joe’s officials this week for details about an opening date were unsuccessful. Williams said he also is trying to find out when the store will open but has not been successful.

On the company’s website, the Columbia location is among 14 new stores that are “coming soon.” Only three have dates attached, with openings scheduled through Jan. 25. Columbia is not one of those.

Crews have been working since last summer to renovate the 13,000-square-foot Forest Drive building – formerly the Columbia Athletic Club – into a grocery store.

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