Diane Donovan was facing a tough decision after the hurricane wiped out her business.
Should she stay and rebuild or move on?
‘Everything was destroyed. It was hard to wrap my mind around the amount of work that would be involved in re-opening.’
Buoyed by the encouragement of her clientele and the company’s past success, the co-owner of Body Works decided to go forward and rebuild the business from the ground up.
Five months and countless late nights later, Donovan and partner Elizabeth Thompson are poised to re-launch the holistic wellness centre in Queen’s Court Plaza.
‘It was a hard decision but this is my passion,’ said Donovan, a yoga instructor and massage therapist who has run the wellness centre for six years. ‘I can’t imagine doing anything else,’
On Tuesday, Body Works will celebrate its re-opening with a reception from 6pm to 9pm that will also feature an exhibition and sale of works by Austrian artist Elisabeth Schafzahl.
Donovan said Body Works had to be completely refurbished from top to bottom as the storm took off its roof, blew out a window and flooded the interior with four feet of water.
‘We had rain coming in from above and the sea from below. We were able to salvage only a little bit of product that was on the higher shelves – that was it.’
The storm not only demolished the business but wiped out Donovan’s home and vehicle as well.
‘It was absolutely devastating.’
With the worst now behind her, Donovan is looking ahead to getting Body Works back on track. She said Ivan gave her a chance to refine the business as well as introduce some new products and services.
‘We didn’t do a lot of major changes but just fine-tuned it a bit.’
In addition to yoga, Body Works is introducing Pilates, body rolling and stretch therapy classes led by Dottie Rau. It has several new beauty treatments as well.
To fill in the gap before re-opening, the company’s aestheticians and massage therapists have been offering mobile services. Donovan has also been teaching yoga at various locations since November.
‘Everybody said it made such a difference. Starting up yoga made them feel like there was some sort of normalcy in their lives. They looked forward to that hour of calmness.’
Originally from Canada, Donovan came to the island for a change of pace, intending to stay just one year. Six years later, she now calls it home.
‘I really love it here.’
She built a yoga studio onto Body Works after taking over in 1999 to complement its massage and beauty therapy services.
‘As a wellness centre, it’s not just about looking beautiful but feeling beautiful and being beautiful.’
While the last few months have been challenging, Donovan said moving forward has been healing.
‘It’s a new beginning,’ she said. ‘I’m really excited about it.’