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Sara Owen: Ready to Start Her Own Business


CCSU student Sara Owen is proud of her Yankee heritage and shows it in her strong work ethic. In May, when she receives her B.S. in Management and Organization with a concentration in Marketing, she will be able to put that Yankee ingenuity into practice by preparing to launch her own business. That goal, she says, is much closer due to the educational and practical experiences with a business plan and a marketing strategy that she has gained during a recent internship.

With strong encouragement from Dr. David Fearon, professor of Management and Organization, Sara plans to open her own spa, providing a variety of healthcare services. 



“Sara’s participation in an internship turned out to be a life-altering experience for her,” Fearon says. “Not content to simply observe events unfolding, Sara became a truly hands-on intern and did a great deal of groundwork to help establish The Oasis Spa at The Orchards at Southington, a large, non-profit active senior and assisted living community. In our experience, it is unique to have spa services offered to senior citizens by the practitioners at reduced fees, along with no-cost lectures and other health-related services. It soon became apparent to me that Sara was inspired by working in the non-profit environment and with a population not usually attracted to spa services.”

Sara Owen has long been organizationally minded. Indeed, her first career choice was to be a wedding planner, using well-honed people skills and her knack for working with complex situations that may change from moment to moment. Her internship at The Orchards, however, changed the focus of her ideas and energy.

She says, “I was inspired by the way the facility’s management rose to the challenge of offering residents an alternative solution to help them heal and to prevent many aches and pains that they suffer on a daily basis. Although I was there as an intern, I quickly felt like a member of the team and wanted to help emphasize the importance of residents’ health and well-being, while allowing them to enjoy a relaxed and open forum.”

“Once the idea was born, the team had to determine how to interest the residents in the services of a spa, since most had not been to one, and, initially, did not seem receptive to the idea,” Sara reflects. “After narrowing down some options, the Oasis team decided that the most effective and soothing way would be through an holistic approach. They reviewed various options that should be incorporated into the Oasis Spa. I was fortunate in being able to work with them and learn from them as they began contacting a variety of vendors who offered services and products that we wanted to be made readily available to our residents, their families, and friends.”

The result is a staff of spa professionals who specialize in services such as massage therapy, reflexology, therapeutic touch, natural make-up, aromatherapy, herbal supplements, and wig/hair products. Sara worked with licensed specialists and helped coordinate efforts to enable the residents and those close to them to benefit by learning about the services or products, as well as alternative solutions to attaining healthier and happier lifestyles.

During her internship, Sara was part of the effort to organize a “senior wellness series each month to allow people to hear how each individual service or product could help them feel better about themselves while healing them.

“It is an opportunity for them to hear individual professionals speak about their fields of expertise and relate to them on a one-to-one basis,” she says. “This approach helps people to feel that they are not being ‘sold’ to, but, rather, have opportunities to experience services or products to help them on their road to finding the most effective solution to their problems.

“Some of the topics that we ask the professional to touch upon include: insomnia, depression, headaches, arthritis, diabetes, memory loss, lung and liver health, and cold and flu and allergy defense,” she says.

Having seen the development of a new aspect of an existing “business”—albeit a non-profit—Sara Owen has a clear view of how she can build a business and her career. She credits School of Business courses in entrepreneurship and capitalization as key elements in her future plans. And she has not ruled out the potential of developing a non-profit business. 

Sara says, “In putting together the Oasis Spa, we experienced the satisfaction of seeing residents, the people we see day in and day out, walking around much happier and healthier. Knowing that we helped improve their lives in this way was a definite reward. By keeping the service non-profit and specifically for residents and their affiliates, we added to the feeling of ‘family’ that is not always found in residence facilities. Plus, the residents can have access to and enjoy the services without the hassles and prices that they would encounter in a commercial spa.”

Applying her knowledge to identifying and quantifying a market, Sara notes, “The Oasis Spa is geared toward a specific generation and helping them mainly because they are often overlooked and even ignored. The Orchards at Southington is the first of its kind to open such a facility and now these residents and their affiliates are experiencing the benefits of it—to the extent that this service is now financially self-sustaining. And that’s good for any business.” 


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