|Spa Sydell at Brookwood Place in south Buckhead|
Spa Sydell closes stores amidst financial issues
Atlanta-based Spa Sydell has closed another three locations on the heels of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing this past August. The filing, the second by the company in the past seven years, was seemingly the result of ongoing issues facing the spa business. When Spa Sydell filed for bankruptcy in 2009, they emerged in 2012 with "significant liabilities to the IRS" meaning that the firm did not completely achieve its goal of being given a clean slate going forward.
Even with the outstanding liabilities and an ever more competitive landscape, the company opened an expensive new 8,840 square foot location on Ernest Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw last summer. The company also signed leases for new locations at Gateway on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs and at The Shops at Merchants Walk in Huntsville, Alabama. Plans for both of the new locations have been abandoned.
Within the past few days, the company has closed the Kennesaw, Brookwood Place and Alpharetta locations, and has officially abandoned their plans to open in Huntsville.
The Brookwood Place location, which measured nearly 14,000 square feet, opened in 2002. Spa Sydell is one of the last remaining original tenants in what was once a Kroger-anchored development.
Spa Sydell also closed its location at Mansell Point, a strip center at the intersection of Old Alabama Connector and Mansell Road in Alpharetta. The Alpharetta location was far smaller than the Brookwood spa, at just under 6,000 square feet. Both Mansell Point and Brookwood Place are owned and managed by Atlanta-based Selig Enterprises.
While a Spa Sydell representative told me that the closed locations are undergoing "renovations" and will reopen, the Kennesaw location is marked as empty and actively being marketed for lease by The Shopping Center Group. The Brookwood and Mansell locations still appear as if they are occupied on each property’s respective site plan on the Selig Enterprises website.
For now, the spa is keeping open its other locations in Norcross at The Forum, in Dunwoody at Park Place and on Peachtree Parkway in a small strip center in Cumming. The company previously operated locations in Buckhead on West Paces Ferry Road, Roswell Corners and in Cumberland Mall, among others.
In addition to competition from luxury hotel spas, competition also includes franchise spas like Massage Envy, Massage Heights and Elements Massage, all with multiple Atlanta area locations, as well as locally-based Natural Body Spa. With increased competition and and its financial issues, one would think Spa Sydell would focus on exemplary customer service to set itself apart.
Unfortunately, having looked at their Facebook page, this notion seems yet to be realized. While the page is fairly up to date (the last post was this past Tuesday morning), whoever maintains it seems to neglect comments and questions from would-be customers.
One Facebook user and would-be customer wrote on November 4th at 4:12PM: "I've sat on the phone 3x today for a total of over 30 mins trying to make an appt at Park Place. Any ideas?" As best I can tell, there was never a response from anyone at Spa Sydell.
Another Facebook user wrote on June 17th at 10:39AM: "Trying to book an appt. but your computers are down and no one is answering your phone at Park Place! It is 10:30 AM Friday." Again, there is no evidence that anyone from Spa Sydell ever responded.
While yes, both would-be customers may have eventually been assisted, the fact that no response is provided publicly looks bad for Spa Sydell and makes it appear as though the comments were ignored.
It's worth noting also that all of the locations that closed had Yelp ratings of 2.5 stars. The Park Place location also has a 2.5 star rating while the Cumming and Forum locations both have 3 star ratings.
One can hope that the company gets its act together soon, but just in case, you might want to go ahead and use any of those big burgundy gift certificates you have lying around.
Are you surprised to see Spa Sydell struggling? What would you like to see open in their now vacated spaces? What is your favorite space in Atlanta?
Please share your thoughts below.