The iconic Cabana Palms Dayspa at 400 Lee Blvd. is soon to close because it owners - John and Kelly Graham - are retiring and planning to "smell the roses" and enjoy time with their grown children and their grandchildren.
John Graham said he and his wife have downsized somewhat their lives and are looking forward to retiring as of June 30. He will be 65 next month. Kelley is a few years younger and has been doing massages in Lehigh for several years, but she is ready to find time to enjoy the future.
"We've had a good business with a lot of fine people who have been our clients over the years. We will miss them, but we have decided it is time to retire, that time comes to everyone," Graham said. His wife, Kelly, is out of town with friends so John was running the massage business last week along with an assistant.
PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE CITIZEN
John and Kelly Graham, owners of Cabana Palms Dayspa, are retiring after years in Lehigh Acres.
If you haven't had a massage there yet, you still have time and Graham said it is a wonderful experience to relief stress and make you feel like a million dollars.
Until they close, the hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They'll even do a massage on evenings and Sundays by appointment.
Both John and Kelly Graham are licensed massage therapists. John is vice president and general manager of Cabana Palms Dayspa and the one who is computer savvy along with knowing how to use social media networking today which he says has helped greatly with their business.
The dayspa massage business is the largest in Lehigh and probably one the of best known.
Kelley began the spa business in the spring of 2005. She and John were married on New Year's Eve in 2008.
They have a son in Michigan with two children with a third on the way, and they have a daughter who lives in North Carolina, where she is a physician.
"So now's the time to be able to visit them in retirement, to be able to spend time with family. We're looking forward to it ... and I am an outdoorsman and looking forward to playing more golf and doing more fishing," he said.
Kelly began her career in the business in 1998 while working with Dr. Jeff Peck of Specific Care Chiropractic as, a massage therapist. Peck opened a day spa at the old Admiral Lehigh and Kelly managed that enterprise and eventually bought the business.
In 2005 she moved the massage business to the corner of Alabama and Homestead roads with the name of Cabana Palms Dayspa and the business moved in 2010 to its present site at 400 Lee Blvd.
John began in 2010. He had been an advertising executive for Gannett for several years, but retired and in 2009 when he joined his wife at the Cabana Palms Dayspa. He became a licensed massage therapist in January of 2010.
The business is certainly an icon in Lehigh for the many years it has been in business and for the thousands of people who have received massages at one of the locations. Also, John and Kelly have given away their services at various events with such things as "chair and neck massages" at festival and other social gatherings.
They've been active with the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce's board of directors, and John is president of the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres. He is also president of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association of Southwest Florida, activities that keep him busy.
The business has won for 10 years as the Best Spa in East Lee County.
John has kind words for his wife.
"She is the most compassionate person I have ever known. She has that loving touch like healing ... she loves what she does," he said.
John himself is quite the businessman, too. Since 2009, their business has tripled and that is during the Great Recession.
John Graham says that this is his third retirement and this is the last. He first retired from Verzion Corp. when he was 52. Then he sold advertising for Gannett Corp., and retired from there when he was 58 and now at almost 65, he is retiring from Cabana Palms Dayspa.
The husband and wife team leased the building and while it is for sale, Graham said there are a couple of people who are looking at it for a massage business.
"There's no better building than this for a massage business. It was the offices once of Dr. Wallace, so there are many treatment rooms where we do our private massages," he said.
Both love Lehigh and say they have no plans to move. They own their own home and it will become where they come back to after trips and visits with families who live away from Lehigh.
What's the first thing they plan after they retire?
Graham says probably a trip to North Carolina to see their daughter and who know what's next. He loves what he calls "the great outdoors," so fishing and golfing are definitely ahead.
"But mainly we want to slow down and smell the roses and travel and enjoy our lives. We're going to miss our clients who have been loyal to us. But I think they understand that it is time to take down the sign and take some time for ourselves now," he said.