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Wellness Center Owner Capitalizes on Sleep

By: Abby Penning
Posted: January 30, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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With this knowledge, Ronco was inspired to open Yelo in early 2007. The wellness facility provides time and space for exhausted urbanites to catch up on some much-needed shut-eye with specially designed YeloCabs, or self-contained environments that are attuned to each person’s ideal sleep sounds, smells and sensations. They also feature zero-gravity YeloChairs that recline space shuttle-style and help blood flow to the chest, lowering the heart rate and encouraging sleep.

A staff of state-licensed therapists, who are also certified by the American Reflexology Certification Board, offer reflexology and microcurrent facial treatments. However, Ronco keeps the menu simple in order to stay true to Yelo’s nature—clean and easy. “At Yelo, the only thing people have to take off is their shoes,” he notes.

The wellness center’s unique focus helped get the word out about Yelo early on, with pieces in national newspapers, magazine and on television programs, and Ronco used the attention as a springboard to build his new business. “It was an advantage to come from outside of the industry,” he explains. “I’m not a former therapist who decided to create his own spa, so I didn’t just reproduce all the industry things that have been seen before.”

There were still a few bumps in the road, though. “It was a challenge to educate people about the power of napping in the city that never sleeps,” Ronco says, but to keep growing, he decided to use his business background to approach companies about integrating Yelo into their medical benefits.

Approximately six months after Yelo opened, Ronco signed deals with powerhouse corporations such as Time Warner and Random House to advertise Yelo in their buildings and encourage employees to rejuvenate there by stopping in to take naps, receive reflexology treatments or get microcurrent facials. Encouraged by a positive response, the companies were soon asking Yelo to develop anti-smoking and weight-loss treatments, as well.