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On the corner of Wilcox Road in Stonington, with views of Quiambaug Cove to one side and horses grazing around the front yard of a farm on the other, the Quiambaug Cove Professional Center has attracted a certain kind of business to its office and studio spaces. From yoga to hypnotherapy, reiki and reflexology, the center is home to a variety of holistic health and alternative healing practices.
Businesses in the building include Reflexology by Katie, Yoga by The Sea, Healing Thru Touch, River Light Wellness Center, Stonington Natural Health Center, and physical therapy, counseling, law and other businesses.
Jane Percy, owner of River Light Wellness Center, was one of the first wellness businesses to move into the building when it was purchased from a utilities company and turned into office space in the early 2000s. She said there was something about the space that felt like an ideal home for her business.
"There was already a sense that in this building that - while there may be business people, while there may be other enterprises - there is kind of a core group of people who pay attention to health and well being and assisting others, and that's really different from one lone person being in a commercial building," said Percy. "There's something very nice about this spot."
Other business owners agree that the building has the right feeling for a health and wellness business.
"It's really hard to find office space that you feel comfortable in as a therapist," said Katie Carpionato, who has been practicing reflexology - form of alternative medicine based on applying pressure to different areas of the body - with her business, Reflexology by Katie, at Quiambaug Cove for just over a year.
"I just got a really good vibe from it and then I saw these different (businesses) and thought this might really be a good spot for me. It sounds funny 'oh, you get a really good vibe,' but you do," she said.
Many of the businesses were also drawn to the space by some of its more practical features, like ample parking, an easy-to-find location on Route 1, substantial outdoor space and a quiet atmosphere, which owners say can be hard to find in downtown storefronts and strip malls.
"There's something quiet about the space. There's good insulation, we don't hear each other," said Percy, who said that a quiet, private space is key for both business owners and their clients to feel at ease. "If its not a comfortable place for me, then I can't do my work comfortably. And that is true of everybody."
In addition to good vibes, business owners also credit supportive and like-minded neighbors with their own business's success at the Quiambaug Cove location. Many have had locations in other office buildings and business parks, but agree that there is an added level of acceptance in having neighbors who are also in the holistic health community. Business owners are on a first name basis with each other, and say they feel more comfortable in a less business-focused office building.
Chris DeWick, owner of the Healing Thru Touch and practitioner of reiki - a Buddhist healing practice that makes use of the body's energy fields - said she felt comfortable in the building and with the neighboring businesses from the start.
"It's a beautiful energy in that building. It's calm and peace(ful)," said DeWick, who agreed the location helped to create the peace, "but more so ... the people that work there. Everybody is of a like mind. We're all there to help people. Nobody really has an ego and if they do they leave it at the door before they walk into the building. We're all pretty good friends."
Along with acceptance, having neighbors in a similar field can bring a boost to business said Carpionato, whose reflexology studio is next door to Jane Percy at River Light Wellness.
"It creates a community, a small business health community. I know that when I have clients who come in ... I refer (my neighbors)," said Cariponato. "They're close by - they're next door or down the hallway. It's easy and accessible."
With owners who can refer customers to neighboring businesses, Percy said the business relationships in the building are more collaborative than competitive, despite some overlapping service offerings.
"In all the years that I've been here - it's more than 10 now - I don't think there's ever been a moment of feeling like there was competitiveness," said Percy. "... The approach is much more collaborative."