Local spa re-opens… again

For the third time in as many years, one of Honolulu’s leading spas is re-opening. Minneapolis, Minn.-based Aveda Corp. today announced that its flagship Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in Ala Moana Center has been upgraded to a full “Experience Center.” The redesigned location — offering an array of services as well as Aveda’s organic hair, skin and body products — is the latest incarnation of a business roller-coaster that began in September 2000 with a small spa in Manoa.

Aveda officials said the revitalized spa, led by Roxanne Krauss, now offers an all-Aveda experience.

“The interior at Ala Moana Center was designed to have a strong brand presence,” said Monroe Alechman, Aveda’s Vice President of Global Merchandising and Store Design. “We will bring in a variety of local educators as well as international guest artists to offer the latest technical training and workshops for staff and customers alike.”

Aveda took over the space at Ala Moana after the bankruptcy and closure of Malama Salon & Spa, which held the Aveda distributor license for Hawai`i. Malama’s troubles led to several shutdowns, and although there were previously spas operating or planned in Manoa, Ala Moana Center, Kailua and Waikiki, the mall location is the only one left.

Malama went from a rapidly expanding business with a building named after it in the fall of 2001 to bankruptcy and a reported $260,000 emergency cash infusion from Aveda in September of 2002. The company shut down two months later, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporting that it listed debts of more than $5 million and assets worth an estimated $2.5 million.

When the Aveda takeover was announced, the company said it intended to retain all Malama employees (except founders Max and Mary Suiter) and honor Malama gift certificates. Aveda had hoped to provide for a seamless transition, running concurrently with the Malama bankruptcy proceedings, but ended up briefly closing its stores again in January in order to make a clean start in its dealings with mall management.

The Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa is located on the upper level of Ala Moana Center, next to Neiman Marcus. Services include hair, skin care and esthetics, massage, waxing, nail care and makeup application, as well as Aveda-branded services including Stress Relieving Treatment, Sensory Journey, Hand Treatment and Finishing Touch.

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