When Tegan Chappell decided to purchase JP Massage Therapy in February of 2018, it was an easy transition as she was very familiar with the clinic, having originally joined the team in September of 2012. Things were transferred over to Chappell one by one and the clinic was officially purchased by Chappell in April of 2018. Former owner Pam Schepp stayed until the end of October.
The therapists that work at JP Massage Therapy are all self-employed contractors that rent their space and are free to set their schedules for what works best for them. “This is mutually beneficial, and works really well for all of us involved”, said Chappell. Currently, there are six therapists in total. They don’t have a dedicated front-end staff, but rather handle the calls, emails, or messages between clients themselves. “We like being able to speak with clients ourselves, and this allows us greater connection to the people we are working with.”
Two therapists have been around since 2011 – Amanda Livingston and Darcel Woytowich. Theresa Zeyha joined in 2016, Sharla Lindsay began in 2018, and the most recent therapist, Angelique Favelle joined their team in March.
Just like many businesses, they were forced to close their doors due to COVID-19 on March 19th. Massage Therapy was categorized as Phase 2 for reopening Saskatchewan and will be returning on May 19th. “We will have been closed two days short of nine weeks by then. Over the last week we have been rescheduling the appointments we had to cancel, and just opened online booking for the general public again,” Chappell explained.
Of course with reopening, they will have new protocols and procedures to follow for the clinic. They have marked their floors and adjusted the seating to allow for proper distancing for clients in the clinic, and have brought in hand sanitizer for everyone to use upon arrival. “We have always taken pride in how clean the clinic is, but are increasing our standards and cleaning our rooms and common areas between clients on a much higher level now.”
The therapists will be wearing masks, eye protection, and aprons when treating patients, or in areas where they cannot maintain the two metre distance required. Clients are not required to wear a mask, but are welcome to bring one if they like. They also are spacing treatments a little further apart and staggering appointments as best they can to avoid having too many clients in the lobby at one time.
All clients will be receiving a confirmation email when booking about the new protocol, as well as a reminder email the day before treatment with the most up to date information. This information can also be found on a dedicated page on their website (https://www.jpmassagetherapy.com/covid19), and the ‘JP Massage Therapy’ Facebook page will be updated as needed.
When asked what Chapell’s concerns about her business were during these uncertain times, she stated, “I am cautiously optimistic about the next weeks and months. We simply do not know how this time is going to go, and our first concern is always for the health and safety of our clients, their families, and our course, ourselves and our families.”
There are also concerns about the availability of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as more businesses open and the supply chain becomes more strained. Along with many other businesses, Chappell has concerns about finances during this situation, as two full months of closure with all expenses still being paid was a big burden. Additional costs of PPE, specific cleaning supplies and disposable products like paper towels instead of the cloths that were currently used, add to the stress. Although she appreciates the ways that government has offered to aid small businesses, unfortunately their clinic was not eligible for most benefit or relief programs out there currently. “I feel fortunate to know that I can open the clinic again, as not every small business has that luxury and many will unfortunately be closed permanently.”
Chappell is very hopeful, yet a little nervous for the future. As they continue to follow to recommendations of the local health officials and government, she is optimistic that as the requirements lessen, things will become easier.
JP Massage Therapy clinic has been given a lot of support from their clients over the past months. As they had to cancel appointments that were very needed by the patients, they expressed their concerns about the welfare of Chappell and all the therapists. “They were asking how we were doing, if we were okay, and wishing us luck in the future. It feels like this little pocket of communities really pulled together when apart, and did their best to let us know they would be here for us if we needed. I feel very privileged to get to work here and call these people not only my clients, but my friends too.”