---- — Business name: Still Point Therapeutic Massage
Owner: Benjamin Burke, LMT
Location: Travels, based in Oneonta
For information: (607) 643-1087
Employees: Associates Erika S. Jones, LMT, and Elyse M. Doyle, LMT
Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to licensed massage therapist Benjamin Burke.
How long have you lived in the area?
I moved to Oneonta in the fall of 1999 to attend Hartwick College, where I studied theater arts. I've been here ever since.
How did you get started in this line of work?
I first became interested in massage therapy when a friend of mine attending massage school at the time asked if they could practice on me. Soon I was enrolled in massage school myself and studying for the New York state licensing exam.
Describe your business:
I provide massage treatments for clients in the Oneonta and Cooperstown areas. I practice both traditional Swedish massage and Shiatsu. I see clients by appointment only.
What is the most enjoyable part of what you do?
The most enjoyable part of what I do is make people feel good! A client can be tense or stressed out pre-session, and post-session he or she will be feeling relaxed and smiling. Just knowing that I made such a huge difference in someone's day makes a huge difference in my own.
The most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of this job so far has been building a group of clients. Many people see massage therapy as a luxury purchase, and while it does seem luxurious to treat oneself to a massage, it is also much more than that. It can offer many people improved mental and physical health. My client base is slowly growing, though.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
There are several places you can go in the area and you'll get a fabulous massage. What I'm doing differently is eliminating the need for you to go anywhere. I'll come to you! Why get dressed and navigate traffic and parking after your massage when you can simply slip into your bathrobe and go on about your day in the comfort of your own home? I tote my massage table from client to client.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into this line of work?
I would recommend attending a one-day massage exploration seminar at The Center For Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy in Albany. I can't say enough good things about the program there. The faculty is beyond amazing, and the program is expertly designed to prepare you for not only massage but also operating a business.
What's the best part about doing business in this area?
The best part about doing business in this area is the people! I've lived here for nearly 13 years now, and I've been very active in the community making many friends and connections. Oneonta is a great place to call home.
Shop Talk interviews are conducted by Cassandra Miller. For information, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 255, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.