By Priscilla Morrill
“I’m very grateful for the past 25 years. Peterborough is a wonderful town to have a business in.” – Ellen Smith, founder and owner European Esthetics Wellness Spa & Tea Room
The last thing she’ll talk about is herself.
“I’m grateful to be able to do what I love, to have a career serving people, making their skin feel better, seeing them feel better about themselves,” Ellen says. “I think our success is a result of continuous, consistent, professional services with personal care.”
When Ellen opened European Esthetics’ doors 25 years ago on School Street, there was no one specializing in skin care services in Peterborough. But the area was ready, and her spa was successful from the start. In fact, quite a few of Ellen’s clients have been with her since day one and over the years children of her clients have become clients, too.
“I’m very grateful for the past 25 years. Peterborough is a wonderful town to have a business in.”
But in 1992, not everyone in town was convinced the business would last. “I have a client whose husband said, ‘Skin care? Peterborough? I’m going to give her six months.’ And to this day, I love seeing her, saying, ‘Hmmm, say hi to your husband,’” Ellen says with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.
A quarter of a century later, the spa is back in the heart of the town, after operating in a number of locations nearby. In May 2015, European Esthetics moved to Depot Square, to the right of Waterhouse Restaurant.
“I love the community, I love the Square, I love the interaction with other businesses,” Ellen says about the new location, adding there’s an energy there and the proximity to Nubanusit River is perfect for a spa. “It felt like a full circle complete.”
European Esthetics Wellness Spa & Tea Room will celebrate its momentous anniversary all month, with specials and discounts. An Open House Celebration will be held Thursday, Aug. 17, from 5 to 8 p.m., with music and mingling at its Grove Street location. All are welcome to the catered event.
Ellen’s passion for all things natural
Before “organic” and “all-natural” became popular product labels, Ellen was offering clients those alternatives. And that care doesn’t end with what touches the skin.
“Our spa is conscious about the environment. We recycle, use non-toxic cleaning agents and are meticulous about clean linen.”
Ellen says a love of nature was instilled in her as child, and would later serve her in her career choice.
Growing up in the Netherlands, Smith had no intention of becoming an esthetician; she wanted to be a nurse. But she had taken bookkeeping and banking classes in high school that would later help in running a business and, while she was waiting for her nursing courses to get started, she went with her mother, an esthetician, to the opening of a new esthetic school.
That’s when her eyes got wide.
“All of a sudden it clicked. I could do what mom does,” Ellen recalls.
From the start of her career, Ellen was using natural skin care products, such as Dr. Eckstein and later Dr. Hauschka, Decléor, Glymed and Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics. She was following her mother in that regard, and the love of all things natural has led Ellen on a mission that’s more than skin deep.
“My eyes were opened,” Ellen says, referring to the lack of regulation on ingredients in skin care products in the U.S. that’s recently come to her attention.
In October 2016, Ellen began exploring more deeply what “natural” and “organic” on labels really mean, and she’s learned it isn’t always good. She credits Beautycounter, a line of toxin-free skin care she’s promoting, with expanding her awareness.
Now, Ellen feels a responsibility to educate others about the potential dangers of lead and arsenic, for example, in lipsticks and foundations, not to mention the chemicals that can often be found in sunscreens, deodorants and shampoos.
“The transparency on products just isn’t there,” she says, noting the associated laws have not been updated in the U.S. since 1938 and a number of ingredients banned in Europe for decades are still in use here. “You can’t just trust what’s on the label.”
What’s new for EE
When the spa moved to its present location next to the Waterhouse two years ago, Ellen took advantage of the big open space she gained to add a Tea Room, where herbal tea and a whole lot more could be served.
The space Ellen has created flows seamlessly with the beauty of nature just outside, and the sound of the rushing water helps transport visitors to a place of peace and calm.
“You don’t have to have an appointment,” Ellen says, “to enjoy a cup of tea, a snack and the scenery. It’s an open door.”
More and more, people are stopping in to have a cold drink on a hot day, sit by the water and relax with friends. The Tea Room is also a place where groups gather for meetings and classes are held in nutrition, health and wellness. In the near future, Ellen hopes to find the right person to host High Tea and offer baked goods at the spa on a more regular basis.
In January 2016, Ellen and Registered Dietitian Ruth Clark of Smart Nutrition LLC established Women 2 Women in Business, a networking group for area entrepreneurs, which meets the third Monday of the month at European Esthetics.
“It’s the support of women, learning from women who have done things I haven’t,” Ellen says. “I’m constantly learning and improving, while supporting others as well.”
The group averages 10 to 14 people per meeting, but they have 50 women and growing among their ranks. Making business connections, learning from each other and sharing ideas and collaborative efforts are the group’s highlights.
Ellen’s support for other women in business begins with her own employees, helping them to obtain the training they need, mentoring them and encouraging them to succeed.
“I am so grateful for all who have ever worked for EE, all that everyone has brought to the business, and who treated our clients with care, respect and patience,” Ellen says. “All have taught me something, improved services, added their own touch and made EE what it is today.”
So, what’s in store for European Esthetics? Ellen says, “There’s something next, and I’m excited to find out what that will be.”
While her new vision takes shape, Ellen and her team continue to offer an extensive menu of services, including a new lineup of facials, expanded massage techniques, manicures, pedicures, waxing services, lash and brow tinting, health coaching and mineral makeup application.
Originally published in ELF Magazine
August is a time to dig in and celebrate the bounty of locally grown (and brewed!) food and drink that our farmers, producers, chefs and markets serve up to us this month. New Hampshire Eat Local Month happens each August and the Monadnock Region is ripe with events to mark the month!
Enjoy this sample of events from our region -- and be sure to visit nheatlocal.org for happenings throughout the state.
Pizza Night at Orchard Hill Breadworks happens each Tuesday in August from 5 – 7:30 p.m. in Alstead. Top your pizza with fresh produce from their brand new Pizza Night garden -- or bring locally grown and made toppings from your own garden or pantry. Orchard Hill Breadworks provides the crust (gluten free available), sauce and cheese and bakes it in their incredible outdoor oven. Cost: $9 per pizza and proceeds go to a different nonprofit each week.
Thursday nights are Free Movie Nights at the Barn at Walpole Valley Farms in Walpole. Walpole Valley Farms will sell their grass-fed burgers and hot dogs, along with fresh popped popcorn and drinks. Food and games start at 5:30 p.m. and the movie begins at 7 p.m. Discover the movie of the night and more at the Walpole Valley Farms Facebook Page.
Community Garden Connection hosts weekly Garden Parties every Tuesday from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Cheshire County Farm on River Road in Westmoreland. Dress for weeding, watering or harvesting -- they’ll provide all the supplies needed. Each week’s harvest goes to the Keene Community Kitchen and other community members with limited access to fresh, local produce. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Monadnock Food Co-op for a tour of Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole on August 12 from 10 – 11 a.m. From peaches to apples, learn how Alyson’s Orchard produces its sustainably grown and delicious fruit. This event is free, but registration is required.
Learn about native plants and their healing properties at an Intro to Herbalism on August 17 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Stonewall Farm in Keene. Make your own tincture to take home with you. Cost: $30 members, $35 for non-members. Find details and a link to register on Stonewall Farm’s Facebook Page.
From Noon to 2 p.m. on August 19, the Monadnock Food Co-op hosts an Ice Cream Social sponsored by Walpole Creamery Ice Cream. Toppings included and vegan options available. A suggested donation of $5 goes to the Jeffrey P. Smith Farm Scholarship Fund that helps more kids attend farm camps each summer.
Celebrate the harvest of locally grown food at the Annual Harvest Dinner at the Acworth Village Store on August 19 starting at 6 p.m. in South Acworth. Enjoy a five-course dinner and music in a historic barn. Tickets are $35 and available at the Village Store.
There’s another opportunity to dine at Stonewall Farm’s Farm to Table Dinner on August 25 from 6 – 9 p.m. Chef Linda Stavely and Denise Meadows of Free Range Chick Catering will create a scrumptious menu featuring sustainably grown products from the farm. Cost: $75. Tickets are available online.
Nineteen farms will open their barn and fence doors to visitors during the Monadnock Farm Tour with Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition on August 26 from 2 – 6 p.m. Farm Tour Buttons are $5 for individuals and $10 per car -- so be sure to carpool!
Also, check out our region’s nine farmers’ markets: yardenofeatin.wordpress.com/markets.
We’ll add more events as we discover them, so please visit our site often to stay up to date on all the happenings in our region.
All month long, we hope to inspire you to eat more locally grown, raised and made foods, meet the farmers, growers and chefs behind your food and learn new skills that keep you eating locally throughout the year. Dig in and celebrate New Hampshire Eat Local Month!
Each year, Monadnock Buy Local’s Shift Your Shopping Promotion (including our signature Plaid Friday Event) attracts more and more community participation and media attention -- both in our region and statewide:
"The store was busy all day [during last year's Plaid Friday]. Lots of customers know about Plaid Friday and wearing plaid -- even babies. People were a lot more aware of the event this year. In fact we were so busy ringing up customers we forgot to take any pictures."
~ Françoise Bourson, owner of Joseph's Coat
Tier 1: $50
• Your logo will appear in our Shift Your Shopping ad in the Shopper News (~60,000 weekly readers)
Tier 4: $500 (2 sponsorship slots available)
This September, Randy Cohen VP of Policy & Research at Americans for the Arts will speak at events across the Monadnock Region to discuss the recent Arts & Economic Prosperity Study and how we can leverage its findings to spur our Creative Economy.
Learn more about these events
It was a lovely Sunday for a drive through shaded country roads with the promise of good music and repast on the grounds of the Fitzwilliam Inn. The Harris Brothers Balkan Band was performing as part of its Summer Sundays series, and we were looking forward to an afternoon of music and a surf and turf barbeque menu in the quaint town of Fitzwilliam.
Read more: Fitzwilliam Inn Summer Sundays
Throughout the month of August, Monadnock Buy Local joins with 52 partners throughout the Monadnock Region and state to highlight New Hampshire Eat Local Month -- a month-long celebration of local food and New Hampshire farmers and producers.
"New Hampshire residents and visitors, alike, are showing unprecedented interest in local food, and this month-long celebration offers a great opportunity to feature New Hampshire grown foods and farms," said Gail McWilliam Jellie from the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.
As part of the NH Eat Local Month festivities, Monadnock Buy Local will compile events and promotions happening in the Monadnock Region at www.monadnocklocal.org/NHEatLocal. NH Eat Local Month also coincides with National Farmers' Market Week, honoring farmers' markets all across America, and Monadnock Buy Local plans to give special attention to this sector during the week of August 6 - 12, 2017.
"There's so much to celebrate around local food in our region," said Jen Risley, Executive Director of Monadnock Buy Local. "We hope to shine a light on our entire food system -- from the soil and the farmers to the markets and chefs that cultivate our local food economy."
New Hampshire Eat Local Month is a statewide celebration of farmers and local food producers throughout the month of August. Promotion of this year's NH Eat Local Month is in collaboration with the Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food, Monadnock Buy Local, Seacoast Eat Local and New Hampshire Farms Network. Find more information at www.nheatlocal.org and www.facebook.com/nheatlocal.
Priscilla “Cilla” Morrill, LMT, former editor of the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, has joined European Esthetics at 36 Grove St., Suite 1, as a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Trained at N.H. Institute for Therapeutic Arts -- the only nationally accredited massage school in New Hampshire -- Morrill will offer the European-developed Neuromuscular Technique, Deep Tissue Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Reflexology and Attunement, among other healing arts. A Reiki Master Teacher, Morrill will also teach Reiki energy medicine classes at the wellness spa and tea room.
Morrill is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and a winner of the 2017 American Massage Therapy Association-New Hampshire Chapter scholarship. She is included in the AMTA’s Massage Therapist Finder directory: https://www.amtamassage.org/famt/PriscillaMorrill.
European Esthetics is celebrating its 25th year in business in 2017.
Originally Published in the Monadnock Shopper News
“Changing the way our economy operates starts with a single person. It starts with you.”
-- Michelle Long, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Monadnock Buy Local invites you to celebrate Independents Week from July 1 to July 7. Independents Week is a time to think independently and act locally -- to change the way our economy works and shape the future of the Monadnock Region. It’s also a time to acknowledge the vital connection between independent businesses and the health and wealth of our community.
Please take some time next week to reach out to at least one independent business owner you know. Thank them for their spirit of entrepreneurism, individuality and character; the way they give back to our community with their time, talent, goods and services; and how their offerings fulfill your needs.
Here are some other ways to embrace Independents Week:
Here’s the Indie Challenge: From July 1 – 7, 2017, try fulfilling all your needs at locally owned, independent businesses in honor of Independents Week. Sign on to the Indie Challenge today. Please keep us posted on how it’s going.
If you get stumped, use our 3,688 Facebook Fans (and your friends and neighbors) to help you brainstorm possibilities.
Another great resource for finding what you need is our online directory, listing 398 locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region. You can search by business type, town or keywords to find what you’re looking for.
Traveling during Independents Week? Enjoy what locally owned businesses have to offer wherever you are. Ask locals where their favorite independents are -- and look for networks like Monadnock Buy Local.
In honor of Independents Week, some businesses are offering special promotions to thank you for your support.
Nest :: Mother Child Home in Peterborough will give you 20% off purchases of $50 or more and VizionZ, also in Peterborough, will extend 40% off all prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses to you throughout Independents Week. Thank you Nest and VizionZ!
If you’re planning a “staycation” and staying in the region next week, be sure to participate in local events sponsored by our locally owned businesses and community organizations. Here’s a sample of the many great activities happening around the Monadnock Region during Independents Week -- get out there and celebrate our Independents!
Think independently and act locally this Independents Week and beyond!
If you haven’t driven down Roxbury Street in Keene in recent months, it might look a bit different. The spot where the former YMCA once stood is now a clean slate ready for MoCo Arts to build anew. This prime site, directly across from Hannah Grimes Center, will have the chance to serve the families of the Monadnock region once again.
MoCo Arts was founded 25 years ago in its current building, a modest former machine shop. Since then enrollment has grown 225%; the building has not! MoCo is an important part of Keene’s creative economy and a significant contributor to a vibrant Main Street. Serving 2,300+ students a year, MoCo children and their families are patrons of local coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and many other businesses that keep Keene’s downtown thriving. Many community leaders believe this hub for the arts will have a spillover effect to further redevelopment of Keene’s East Side.
For MoCo, the chance to create a vibrant downtown hub for creative arts education for children -- just steps from Main Street and Central Square -- is a chance to enhance their mission of Transforming Lives Through Movement and Creative Expression. For many young people, transportation to activities and events is a barrier to opportunity. Remaining downtown ensures that students can access MoCo’s highly-regarded dance and theatre classes and award winning multi-arts camps by school bus, public transportation, bicycle, or on foot. Accessibility is a MoCo guiding value; welcoming and inclusive arts education for all, regardless of financial, social or other barriers.
Support MoCo Moves Today!
MoCo Moves: Building MoCo Arts’ Future is a $5 Million dollar capital campaign to build new studios and reach more students. Currently, $4.1 Million has been fundraised and MoCo needs your help to get to the finish line. For more information about this exciting project, visit www.move.moco.org, or call MoCo Arts at 603-357-2100.
Arts Alive!, in partnership with The Hannah Grimes Center, presents a workshop for artists and makers, Artist to Artist: Crowdsourced Fundraising with TLC Monadnock and NH SBDC, on Wednesday June 28th at the Ash Hill Center for the Arts in Swanzey, NH.
This will be a panel discussion and Q & A on what it takes to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. Attendees will learn about how online and in person social networking can promote their campaign and how to raise money in small increments from a community of friends, neighbors, micro-investors to collaborators who care about seeing your project succeed.
"The creative economy employs over 2,000 individuals in the Monadnock region. Many of those individuals are independent artists and makers," says Arts Alive! executive director, Jessica Gelter. "We are always looking for ways to support artists to enhance their small business enterprises and connect them with other local businesses that will help them grow."
Presenters will include individuals from TLC Monadnock’s Leadership Team: Nancy DuBosque from New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Jen Risley from Monadnock Buy Local.
The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock is a locally based crowdfunding platform that uses crowdfunding to build a stronger ecosystem of investors, service providers, and local economy champions investing in a local, green, fair AND creative economy in the Monadnock area. During its pilot phase, TLC Monandnock will support crowdfunding campaigns based in Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Swanzey and Winchester. If successful, it will expand to serve a larger region.
Registration is free for members and $5 for not-yet members. To register visit www.monadnockartsalive.org/artist-to-artist.