Business resumes after blaze
Owners of a historic Sylvan Lake spa ravaged by fire are determined to continue the once thriving business.
Cynthia Leigh and husband Pierre Giguere, co-owners of Sylvan Lake Steam and Spa, have begun offering partial services at another location, the 100-year-old Stone House on 46th Street that they also own.
Leigh said the Stone House location opened on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after the former building was turned into a blackened shell.
Business has been less busy than the “frenzied days” of the past, but it’s coming back, she said.
The Stone House is offering spa services such as manicures, facials and body treatments. But steam baths cannot be offered because of a lack of facilities.
Seven of eight staff have agreed to stay, despite being out of work since the fire.
“They are definitely making a commitment because it’s not snap your fingers and everything is back to normal.”
Leigh said the fire-damaged building may not be replaced because the insurance company is suggesting it will pay only $250,000 of the approximate $550,000 replacement cost.
“I’m not sure we will be able to afford to rebuild, but we would really like to.”
She said the fire department still hasn’t confirmed the cause of the blaze. It’s believed to have started on the second-floor pedicure room and Leigh suspects an electrical problem.
The building opened in 1946 as a steam bath. Leigh believes it was the first commercial steam bath in Alberta and possibly Western Canada.
She and Giguere purchased the cedar-lined, wooden building five years ago. The building contained numerous antiques and some may be salvaged. A 100-year-old cash register was pulled out the day of the fire.
Leigh said she can’t bear to visit the old location because it breaks her heart.
“We loved that place so much and many people did,” she said. “I would walk around crying all day if I kept thinking about it.”
Leigh said customers with steam passes and steam gift certificates can have them honoured at Totally Refreshed Steam and Spa in Red Deer.
The Stone House location will also double the value of steam gift certificates used for spa services.
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