New spa targets men

Blacksmith Parlour makes foot health welcoming to all

Steven Zacharuk of Blacksmith Parlour refers to services as treatments rather than using traditional spa terminology.

Photo by Callie Lugosi

Though spas have historically been looked upon as places where women are pampered, men are now also reaping their health benefits.

Many spas offer services for everyone, but few seek to specifically attract men. 

Steven Zacharuk realized this when he was working as a civil engineer by day and mechanic by night. 

“I would go to work, and my hands would be black,” Zacharuk says. When he couldn’t find anywhere in Manitoba or Canada where specifically men were encouraged to feel comfortable receiving spa treatments, he decided to open one.

Blacksmith Parlour’s slogan is “Nails for males,” and they aim to provide spa treatments and services to those who may not feel comfortable in a traditional spa setting, Zacharuk says. 

Blacksmith Parlour provides hand treatments and foot treatments, distancing itself from traditional spa terminology that men may be unfamiliar with. 

“Some guys might not know the difference between a manicure and a pedicure, so we call them treatments,” Zacharuk says.

The goal is to make clients feel comfortable and at ease. Personal TVs with headphones, comfy leather chairs and alcoholic beverages are offered to clientele, “like you’re sitting in your living room,” Zacharuk says. 

Though treatments are tailored towards men, people of all genders are welcome to Blacksmith Parlour. 

To those who say spa treatments are only for women, Zacharuk says, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” 

He also says treatments, like those his spa offers, carry important health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

“Maintaining good foot health is a huge health benefit, especially as you get older,” Zacharuk says.

Lilibeth Clabria, a nurse specializing in foot care, agrees that regular pedicures can reduce age-related health complications, because failing to take care of your feet can cause debilitating pain later in life. 

Clabria’s elderly patients suffer from ailments, such as peripheral vascular diseases, vein problems, diabetes and poor circulation. 

Some receive foot and leg treatments to relax muscle and nerve tension. Clabria suggests men go to salons to get their nails cut properly, in order to prevent foot problems – such as ingrown toenails – down the road. 

Clabria says regular foot treatments also provide stress-relieving benefits. 

“In our everyday life, we work and work. It’s important to be pampered.” 

Zacharuk says many initial appointments are booked for men by their girlfriend, wife or a family member, but men are quick to return after they recognize the health and wellness benefits of the treatments. 

Jerry Baluta, a Blacksmith Parlour client, had received treatments from other spas in the past but was drawn to the space that specifically targetted men. 

“It’s nice to be able to watch sports and have a nice tequila while I’m having my feet and hands done,” Baluta says. “It’s something that guys don’t regularly do, but it’s comfortable, and it feels good.

Published in Volume 71, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 16, 2017)

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