More than 4 years ago, David Conneely made a life-changing decision. He moved from Brooklyn to Westport, to own and operate iFloat.
The Boston-area native did not know anyone here. He had never owned a business. But he loved floating — a method of reducing stress and feeling relaxed, using warm salt water in a quiet place — and wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.
He put his life into his business, on the 2nd floor of Main Street above Oscar’s. He educated people about the benefits of floating. He hosted events that enhance mind-body connections. He solved his own problems, like retail neighbors playing loud, pulsing music.
“It’s been quite a ride — a lot of blood, sweat, and tears,” David says.
“But I look back and see a positive impact on people’s lives as a result of what I have done here. I’ve made a difference, developed friendships, a community, people whom I love and who love me.”
Yet just as David helps folks relax and feel better, he’s come to understand himself and his own needs too.
At the end of March, he planned to use his one day off — a Monday — to hang out with a client, who has since become a good friend. But a business issue arose, and he canceled.
Anne told David that she felt his life was unbalanced. As they talked, he realized she was right. He did not have much of a life outside iFloat. He was unhappy.
He said, “If someone walked in and wrote a check for the place, I’d walk away.”
She encouraged him to sell.
He started the process. He de-cluttered the place, wrote a valuation document, met with his accountant and friends. It was not easy.
When a suitable arrangement could not be found, he decided to just shut down.
But David could not simply walk away. He stayed open a month longer than he planned — through July 31 — so that people could use any gift certificates or pre-purchased floats they had.
“I’m glad I gave everyone a month’s notice,” he says. “I’ve received a lot of support, by email and in person. It’s been an honor to own and run iFloat. I’m grateful to have met so many wonderful people.”
David plans to publish a book about floating (it’s almost done). He may go back to teaching high school biology — his previous profession — or do some life coaching or counseling.
He may resettle in Boston or New York. He also looks forward to spending 3 months on an island off Thailand.
Small businesses frequently come and go in Westport. Seldom, though, do they impact so many lives — or leave with such grace and class.