Ahead of the Curve
Bonnie Waters opened her award-winning day spa and full-service salon on Broadway and Lincoln in 1984. Starting at 1,000-square feet, expansion has come sporadically during her 35-year tenure at Changes Salon & Day Spa. Today, the inviting 10,000-square-foot wellness center achieves flow and harmony from its ever-changing interior design that complements the hair and nail salons, the gift shop, the massage rooms, an Aqua Terra Room with 16-foot water wall, men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Behind the scenes, ahead-of-the-curve Waters and her 60-person team deliver high-quality experiences and innovative products. Waters, who at age 18 opened her “little nail salon on Main Street,” is a forward thinker. As the youngest child in a family whose six children were born in seven years, “with no twins,” she learned to hustle early on. “As the youngest, you eat fast, and you run fast to keep up with everybody else. After my parents divorced, my mother remarried a military man, so we moved a lot.” At age 17, she and one of her brothers grabbed backpacks, hopped in an old pickup truck, and headed to California. “We came to visit my father and never left,” Waters says.
After starting out as a manicurist, she discovered the business component was thrilling. “I bought out my partner. What’s unique is that I started out as a tiny but full-service salon—hair, nails, skin care, massage, retail. It’s the same today, we just do it on a much bigger scale.”
Downtown rental rates were far less expensive three decades ago, which helped Changes remain in business long enough to establish a solid clientele. Five years ago, when her landlord stated it was time to move because a boutique hotel was planned for the location, Waters and her husband, Dennis Winslow purchased a nearby building. “Ultimately, the plan changed and we stayed in our original location, but we hung onto the Locust Street property. Now, it houses Limon and Lokanta, so we’re landlords who stay current on downtown rentals.”
Most important to Water’s is staying relevant. “If I’m not growing, I’m dying. We know that’s part of the universe: grow or decline is true of everything on this planet.” For Changes, this means new services like the CBD Herbal Massage and expanded retail products. Waters networks with other spa owners and relies on trade publications, podcasts, videos, and conferences to stay on top of beauty trends.
Constantly scaling up the design of her business, Water’s latest updates reveal rich jewel tone painted walls, eclectic art, warm woods, simulated natural stone flooring, and a variety of lighting styles—from dramatic glows in the spa to bright natural light in the slick nail salon and gift shop.
Looking to the future, Waters is grooming her daughter, Riley Glowatch, to take the helm at Changes. “I want her to know all the moving parts and pursue her dreams, so we’ll see. I’d stay on as a consultant because the truth is, I love this business. Keeping my finger in the pot will be a win-win.” changessalon.com