LeMay opens massage center in Ellsworth
Mary LeMay faced a difficult decision.
For over 20 years, she had operated two therapeutic massage centers in North Dakota. However, LeMay was feeling torn because eight to nine hours away in the Ellsworth and Red Wing area is where her mother, daughter and son-in-law, along with her grandchildren, all lived.
Should she stay in North Dakota or be closer to her family?
"Family came first," she said, sitting in her new business, Therapeutic Massage Center in Ellsworth. It opened in January.
LeMay got into the therapy massage business in 1983 after earning a degree from the Tri City School of Massage in Kennewick, Wash.
"A friend talked me into it," she said. "I was originally going to go back to school for social work, but I decided to give (massage) a try and I liked it."
And why she liked it is the simplest of reasons: "I like helping people, it's really satisfying."
LeMay opened her first shop in 1984 out of her North Dakota home, which was about 90 minutes from the Montana border. The following year, she added an office.
"I don't do 'spa,' I do therapeutic" massage, she said. She's certified with Wisconsin as a massage therapist.
"Ninety-nine point nine percent of people that come in have something wrong, and I'm trained not to relax but to treat them and help them feel comfortable," she said.
She spent 10 years on the North Dakota Chapter Board of the American Massage Therapy Association, representing the state at national conventions.
She was also its education director and convention coordinator. From 1997-2001, she was appointed to the North Dakota State Board of Massage, with job duties including office inspections, administering state examinations and licensing massage therapists.
"Starting over is going to be tough, as clients have to get used to me and vice versa," she said.
LeMay only accepts appointments no later than 4:30 p.m. during the week and an occasional Saturday morning.
"It's been a lot of hard work," she said.