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Face to Face With Michael Carter, owner, Athena Health Club & Day Spa, Brentwood, Tennessee

By: Sara Goodman
Posted: June 9, 2008, from the December 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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He decided to open a European-style spa because he says the Europeans have been practicing this profession much longer than the Americans. “They’re the trailblazers,” Carter asserts. He wanted to cultivate a niche clientele to set his business apart from others in the spa industry. At the Athena Health Club, women are the focus and can exercise without feeling intimidated by men.

“We are a place that caters to women,” he explains. “We wanted a facility where they can come and be cared for—a place that’s all about them. Hence, Athena: She’s the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge, and represents the total woman.”

Men are welcome at the day spa, which is separate from the health club, and players from the Tennessee Titans professional football team are just some of the male clientele.

With the success that the Athena Health Club & Day Spa has enjoyed during the past two years, Carter has decided to incorporate another business venture—Athena Salon & Image Center, which is located about 10 minutes from the main location in Brentwood. It will focus on hairstyling, professional makeup and photography for the recording industry and bridal parties.

For Carter, the challenge in his new line of work has been to merge his business perspective with a spa focus. “For me, as a business guy, I have to understand that people are artistic and creative in nature on the spa side,” he says. “I’m process-oriented—procedural in terms of how I do things. I wanted to bring business tools to how our organization is run.”