Having honed her skills for three successful decades, Carol Withers of A Perfect Face has written the book on beautiful
If Elizabeth Chaney were still with us, she would no doubt be very proud of what her daughter, Carol, has accomplished. That daughter is Carol Chaney Withers, and she is the founder of West Ocean City’s A Perfect Face Day Spa, which is proud to be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015.
From humble beginnings that consisted only of facials, skincare and makeup services back in 1985, Carol has seen A Perfect Face grow into a full-fledged day spa with over 30 employees set in a luxurious 4,000 sq. ft. space.
The business's very first location, on 77th St. in Ocean City, was a cramped yet cozy 100 sq. ft., but it was the launchpad Carol needed to serve her customers and gain a following. It was just four years later that Carol seized the opportunity to move to a location on 123rd St., which offered more space and comfort for her clients. She had recently married local contractor Dale Withers, owner of Commercial Contracting & Remodeling, who was able to pool his talents with hers in the creation of one of the first official day spas in the area.
“Dale is not only my partner in life and chief advisor, he is my best friend and supportive of everything I've ever attempted,” said Carol. “His wise judgment and business savvy have been invaluable to me in my career, and his generosity is limitless. I could never imagine life without him by my side.”
Hiring a small support staff and training them to her expectations was Carol's next goal, with services that expanded to include nails, massages and body treatments, along with her ever-popular facials, of course. Having graduated from the Von Lee International School of Aesthetics, skincare has always been Carol's main vocational love. This, in addition to her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration/marketing from Frostburg State University, made her the perfect candidate to take on the task that lay ahead.
With a business growing and an increasing staff, it was soon time for a space upgrade. As serendipity would have it, the space adjacent to the 123rd St. location became available for rent, so Carol and Dale jumped on the opportunity. With the extra 1500 sq. ft. and the addition of seven chairs for hair color and design, A Perfect Face blossomed into a premier full day spa and hair salon.
Catering to the needs of the local community as well as the onslaught of seasonal tourists, Carol was busy to say the least. But, as they say, the busy get busier, and so it was that Carol and Dale’s first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1995. She was named for Carol’s mother, whom Carol prizes as her mentor and primary role model, but the two Elizabeths would not share the earth for long, as Carol’s mother succumbed to breast cancer and died just 10 days after baby Elizabeth’s birth.
“I was hoping to learn about motherhood with my own mother by my side to guide me and to share in the little miracle who was named for her, but it wasn't meant to be,” shared Carol ruefully. To this day, Carol sponsors the annual "Pamper Yourself for Charity" raffle in memory of her mother. Held each October for the past 18 years, the event has raised more than $50,000 for the American Cancer Society.
In 1998, meanwhile, a large two-story building became available on 82nd St. in Ocean City. Considering APF's reputation and continually growing client base, it came as no surprise when Carol and Dale decided to relocate yet again.
“It was a time of major expansion for us,” Carol recalled. “We had added a wide variety of services at that time, to cater to all different types of clients. Massages, facials, salt scrubs, aromatherapy, mud treatments and reflexology were just a few.”
It was at this location that clients could even have lunch and relax for a full day of spa treatment. Moreover, there was a private room that Carol set aside to treat women who were either battling cancer or had some other difficult issue they were facing. It became known as a “Look Good, Feel Good” room for the American Cancer Society, which Carol felt was another way to pay tribute to her mom.
Business kept booming for Carol, as did her family life. Her second child, Catherine Louise, arrived in 1998. Though she was certainly busier than ever, it was the kind of frenzy that Carol Withers actually lives for.
“What makes me happy to wake up every morning boils down to my family -- my husband, my children and my staff, whom I also consider my family,” Carol asserted. “I've always said that I would be nothing without them.”
Another twist of real-estate fate occurred in 2005, when Dale learned of a large property available in the West Ocean City area. With the growth boom of that area and the more convenient location for year-round residents, A Perfect Face pulled up its stakes one more time.
"This move just made too much sense," Carol confessed. “For both the business and the clients, traveling into Ocean City -- especially during the hectic, congested, peak season -- would no longer be an issue.”
After major renovations, the 4,000 sq. ft. luxury spa and salon proudly serves its loyal year-round residents as well as a robust contingent of seasonal visitors. Home to no fewer than eight massage/skincare treatment rooms, three private pedicure rooms, four manicure stations and a hair salon that can handle eight clients simultaneously, A Perfect Face Day Spa has finally arrived where it was meant to be all along. With its roomy, elegant waiting area and boutique-like spa -- providing everything from hair- and skin-care products to makeup, jewelry, clothing, handbags and accessories -- there's something there for practically everyone.
“I plan on celebrating in a big way for our 30th anniversary,” beamed Carol. “May 2015 will find a major anniversary party with refreshments, fabulous prizes and lots more. We are also going to use this occasion to celebrate the fact that more than 100,000 clients have walked through the doors of APF since its inception. I’d really like to thank those who have been a part of our growth over the years, as well as those newcomers just joining us.”
Though there isn’t much that could make Carol Withers’ life better than it is right now, there is one thing that remains as a wish unfulfilled.
“If there’s one professional dream that presides above all others for me,” she said, “it's that someday both my daughters will join in the daily operations of the business in one capacity or another. This way, we’d be able to continue the tradition that Dale and I started 30 years ago.”
A PERFECT FACE DAY SPA
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