Massage Envy Spa to open at the Waterfront in May in space that Irvin Jacks is vacating

WICHITA — East Wichita no longer has a reason to be envious of west Wichita, at least when it comes to Massage Envy Spa.

The first Wichita Massage Envy opened in NewMarket Square at 21st and Maize Road in 2010.

Now, one is moving into the Irvin Jacks space at the Waterfront in early May.

It’s not clear what’s happening with Irvin Jacks, a “barber spa” for men. Owner Felicia DeSpain didn’t return calls for comment.

Massage Envy franchisee Amy Gilliland, who also owns the Lawrence Massage Envy, says she’d actually hoped to open on the east side first.

“There was just no place to go that we wanted to go,” she says of when she looked previously.

She says she’s excited about the 3,290 square feet that’s coming open at the Waterfront.

“I love how upscale it is. I love the aesthetic. I like the tenant mix. I like the landlords a lot. They’re really great.”

Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.

Gilliland says Massage Envy is an affordable, approachable business that offers therapeutic massage and healthy skin facials.

The chain, which started in 2002, now has 854 stores.

“The most staggering statistic out of all of that is only 10 of those 850 have closed,” Gilliland says.

She says there’s a reason the chain has been so successful.

“People are using it. They’re seeing results from it,” Gilliland says. “The true benefits of massage therapy is when you’re getting a massage on a regular basis, much like exercise. That’s my greatest message, to tell you the truth.”

She says the NewMarket Square store is doing fine but that it could have been doing much better if it hadn’t been for some operational issues.

“I’m a major straight shooter,” Gilliland says. “That clinic should be quite further along than it is.”

Gilliland says she’s made a staffing change and things have significantly improved in the weeks since then.

“It’s not about need, desire (or) wants for our products and services,” she says. “Both of my locations opened during the recession. It’s just people want what we have.”