Tag Archives: Dream Spa

Spa Owner: “Save Local,” Or Lose Our Town

For many businesses, the holiday season makes the entire year.

But as Westport staggers through an ominous wave of COVID infections, many merchants and restaurant owners fear they’ll be broken.

And not just for the month or year.

Permanently.

Lori Dodd is one of those small business owners. For 20 years, her Dream Spa & Salon has provided clients with relaxing treatments. Her customers love her, and the feeling is mutual.

But love is trumped by a more powerful force: fear.

Lori Dodd

A small PPP payout helped in the spring. Summer brought a bit of hope, and returning clients. But the long-expected second wave of infections has been brutal.

Right now, Lori is operating at 30% of her usual business. That has nothing to do with capacity restrictions. It’s clients staying away.

Stress is everywhere. Masked employees worry about exposure to unmasked women during facials. Some clients snap at employees for little things. Others balk at or refuse to pay a 5% surcharge Lori instituted to pay for PPE and related costs.

Little kindnesses help. Lori’s sign maker, Marty Rogers — a small businessman himself — offered his services gratis as Lori prepared for a grand reopening. A few clients have been very understanding when Lori rescheduled them, because it wasn’t worth opening the doors one day recently and playing desk staff, electricity and housekeeping.

Where the holiday season means merchandise to many stores, Dream Spa sells gift certificates. With widespread uncertainty about the coming months, those sales have been slow.

Dream Spa,, on Post Road East near Greens Farms Elementary School.

Lori knows she’s not suffering alone. When she picks up takeout from local restaurants, they’re empty. Sometimes, if COVID strikes the kitchen, they close.

Often, Lori says, she’s wanted to cry.

Instead she hatched a plan.

“Buy local” is not enough, she says. “The public is numb to that phrase.”

The byword should be “Save local.”

“More impactful action is needed,” Lori explains. “If we are to survive — if we don’t want to lose restaurants, retailers, salons, spas, fitness centers — we don’t have the luxury of idly sitting by, waiting for more PPP and a holiday season that is not going to cut it.

“We need community support. And we need it now.”

She created an Instagram: @SaveLocalWestport. She’s asking small businesses to DM her for details. She’ll organize a Zoom meeting with interested owners.

Lori envisions signage to be placed around town, and a GoFundMe page. Donations will be divided among members, based on need (assessed by a CPA, hopefully a donated service).

Visitors to the Instagram page will be encouraged to buy gift certificates at their favorite stores and restaurants.

In a perfect world, Lori says, if every household in Westport and Weston gave $100, all the members of @SaveLocalWestport could survive.

“People need to help,” she says with emotion. “If they don’t, this will not the town I’ve lived in for 25 years. It won’t be the town you moved to, or the one you thought you knew.”

Cohl Katz’s A-List Clients

Cohl Katz makes everyone feel like a celebrity.

The talented hair stylist and makeup artist works with a devoted clientele at Dream Spa. The handsome stand-alone home on the Post Road next to Crate & Barrel is a perfect spot for the low-key but very creative Cohl.

But she finds time to make actual, legit celebrities look even better than usual.

Her clients literally span A (Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin) to Z (Zelda Williams).

The other day, she prepared Jodie Foster for her “Silence of the Lambs” parody on the “Late Show Stephen Colbert.”

Cohl Katz adjusts Jodie Foster’s “Clarice Starling” wig.

Then it was time for Tracy Morgan. His new TV series debuts this spring.

And she posed for a selfie with longtime client Tom Hanks.

Then it was back to Westport. Her customers needed her to make them look fabulous too.

Dreaming Of A Spa

When Derma Clinic foofed its final facial just before Christmas, loyal customers were bereft.

Meanwhile, those holding gift certificates to the popular day spa were out big bucks.

It’s been a few months, but if you’ve held on to your certificates, Lori Dodd is riding to your rescue.

Dream Spa, Westport CTShe’s owned Dream Spa for nearly 10 years.  Now she’s honoring valid Derma Clinic gift certificates — if the holder purchases the same value gift at Dream Spa.

It could be for yourself (“great for the regular spa-goer,” Lori says) or as a gift (don’t forget Mom — her day is Sunday!).

“All we’re trying to do is help our community, earn the trust and patronage of former Derma Clinic clients, and do the right thing,” she says.

So if you looked forward to a hot rock massage, warm ginger scrub or seaweed body wrap but thought you were SOL — worry no more.  A solution is at hand.

It’s a Dream come true.

(Dream Spa is located at 1220 Post Road East, Westport; tel.: 454-3454)
The "Dream Room"

The "Dream Room"