New massage studio brings ‘Harmony’ to York Road in Towson
By Courtney McGee
Baltimore Sun Media|
Mar 09, 2021 at 5:30 AM
I walk or run along York Road daily, and there has been a growing number of vacancies along the corridor just north of the city line for years. So, I was delighted to discover recently that new life is being breathed into some of those buildings right now. Even better to find they are local small businesses, run by our own Towson neighbors.
One of those spots is 6505 York Road. Keep an eye out for it on your next pass through the area. You can’t miss the building; it’s been painted with GINORMOUS numbers on the front. Licensed massage therapists Heather Kelly and Marlene Santele moved into 6505 and launched Harmony in Wellness on March 1. I asked these new business partners how their venture came to be.
Heather Kelly has been in the massage therapy business for 12 years and has lived in Idlewylde for three. “Moving into this neighborhood became my dream once I had kids,” she said.
“Heather and I have known each other for about 17 years,” explained Santele, who lives in Rodgers Forge. The pair worked together at a high-end spa in Baltimore City, but were laid off during COVID closures. Finding new job opportunities during a pandemic is rough, so they decided to create their own path.
First, they’d have to consider ways to work COVID safety protocols into such a hands-on industry, and they’d also have to find a great location.
Kelly and Santele are both moms with young kids, so the idea of having a studio close to home was a major plus.
“Starting a business that provides massage therapy in the neighborhood seemed like a no-brainer,” Santele said. “We’d be doing what we love, with a super-short commute, and near our kids’ schools if they ever need us.”
“Finding the space at 6505 York Road was a dream come true,” Kelly said. “By staying close to home, we could also be close to our own families, and make our own schedules.”
The business has two massage therapy rooms, and two therapists.
“With no turnover of employees, leaving time in between to clean and sanitize the space, we found a way to still do a job that we are both passionate about, and do it safely,” Kelly said. “Our top priority is to help and heal others, and we can’t think of a better place to do it than this neighborhood and community.”
Downstairs, another great local merchant, Pedal Fun Cycles, also has relocated to the building. “We like the fact that together, we promote health and wellness,” Kelly said.
Indeed, today’s world calls for physical fitness, mental health and wellness, self-care and stress relief more than ever.
“Many people see massage therapy as a luxury, but I see it as a necessity,” Santele said.