Three and a half years ago, Moriah Gause was working as a part time massage therapist, traveling to people's homes to relieve chronic pain and muscle tension.
With more than ten years experience, she hatched an idea to open massage therapy lounge of her own, moving into a small one-room office on East Calder Way in State College.
Over the years, Gause found that the 96 square foot office she once adored was holding her business back. Thanks to an increasing demand from customers and help from the Chamber of Business and Industry in Center County (CBICC), she was able to find room to grow.
On Monday, surrounded by colleagues, friends, and family, Gause officially opened the new location of A Step Beyond Massage Therapy at 431 E. Beaver Ave. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand-opening celebration. Free massages, hors d'oeuvres, and wine tasting was available for new guests, while a harpist provided soothing tunes.
"We actually got so busy that we really needed to expand so that we could offer more hours," says Gause, owner and head therapist. "Plus, the room that we were in, while it was great to start out, was very small."
Due to the limited space available at the old location, only one masseuse could be present at a time, forcing Gause and her staff to have alternating schedules.
"We were sharing the same room before, and we could never be in at the same time, and it didn't give us a lot of flexibility," says Amber Titus, a massage therapist who's worked with Gause for more than a year. "It's nice that we can both have our own rooms we can work out of, and there's room to expand."
The new location, a former sandwich shop, was stripped and remodeled to house three rooms and one bathroom. All told, it offers 1,000 square feet of space - more than ten times than the previous location.
"We had everything in that one little space, and here we can kind of have things set up in a nice peaceful relaxing way, the environment the way we like, so it's really been quite ideal," says Gause.
A Step Beyond specializes in deep tissue massage, and offers an array of therapies, including electrolysis, shiatsu, and body restructuring. Now, thanks to the new space, Gause and her team are adding couples massages to the list, in addition to hiring new staff.
Titus says that the new location also offers increased exposure, since it sits on one of the busiest roads in town.
"We've been a lot busier since we've opened over here," says Titus. "I think it's more visible to people. Whereas before we were getting a lot of student business, I think we're having a lot more local people become aware of us. That's really helpful to the growth of the business."