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Therapists open hands-on business

Published July 27, 2007


LARGO - "It doesn't have to hurt to be effective," says Cassandra Haggert of the Art of Touch healing arts center.

Haggert and two business partners, Alicia Orbea and Lynn Ellen Gaffin, recently opened the business specializing in massage therapies and body spa services.

Orbea, 27, and Haggert, 28, have been friends since their middle and high school days in Largo. Both had their sights on working in the health field since their youth. Eventually they signed up for the course at the Humanities Center, now Cortiva Institute, in Pinellas Park.

"I'd been giving my mom back rubs for years," Haggert said. She worked in the bookkeeping part of the family's Double Eagle deep sea fishing business in Clearwater before deciding to become a therapist.

Orbea worked as a veterinarian technician for a while. "But it got to me, having to put animals to sleep," she said. "I decided my goals were in medical science - in helping people."

Gaffin worked 22 years in information technology and then in consulting before she realized her dream of owning a business and becoming a massage therapist.

The three women graduated at the top of their classes and began meeting and talking after graduation.

"Over coffee and tea we started down this path of realizing that our goals and desire were similar and, gee, why don't we work together," Gaffin said. "I think what drew us together was our common purpose and vision and mutual respect for each other."

The women each put up $13,000 to start the business and leased the 1,650-square-foot space in the Galleria.

Art of Touch has six treatment rooms and is decorated in soothing earth tones. Acrylic paintings by Meghan Hogan and the oils and copper wall hangings of Emily Page are featured throughout the center in the Galleria Plaza at 12551 Indian Rocks Road. The owners plan to continue exhibiting and selling the work of local artists.

Services include neuromuscular therapies, deep tissue, myofascial and positional release, trigger point and muscle energy techniques. Spa services include herbal compresses, hot stone massage, salt and sugar scrubs and body wraps. Costs range from $15 to $30 for a hands and/or feet paraffin treatment to $260 for a four-handed therapeutic massage. Visit the center at

Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber elects leader

Richard "Ricky" Satcher, president and chief executive officer of Largo Medical Center, has been elected chairman-elect of the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Chamber of Commerce and on Oct. 1 will begin his term.

He took over the position at Largo Medical Center in January 2006, transferring from St. Petersburg General Hospital. Both hospitals are owned by Nashville-based Hospital Corporation of America. He began working for HCA in 1989.

Satcher is to introduce his goals and objectives at the chamber's 55th annual banquet Sept. 17 at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort.

Investment broker joins Colliers Arnold

Camille Renshaw has joined Colliers Arnold as a senior investment specialist. She will concentrate on smaller industrial, office and office/flex investment properties.

She was with Keller Williams Realty in the Central Florida region as a specialist in investment property sales and acquisitions and manager of its commercial division. She also has experience in site selection and property development requiring a focused business plan.

Colliers Arnold Commercial Real Estate Services, at 17757 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater, offers sales, leasing, asset and property management, corporate services, valuation and consulting services. It also has offices in Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando and is a partner in Colliers International, a global real estate services firm with more than 267 offices in 57 countries.

Coordinator hired at community for seniors

Lila Jane has joined Horizon Bay Senior Communities as professional development coordinator at Pinecrest Place, 1150 Eighth Ave. SW, Largo.

She has more than 25 years of experience in operation, development and marketing in senior living communities. She has a gerontology degree from Bowling Green State University and is a licensed nursing home administrator.

Based in Tampa, Horizon Bay Senior Communities manages 70 communities in 15 states. Pinecrest Place offers independent living, home health care and assisted living.

Wealth-management firm is a 'Top Dog'

ProVise Management Group LLC of Clearwater has been recognized by Wealth Manager magazine in its annual "Top Dog" report of the nation's top wealth management firms. The firms were ranked according to the amount of assets under management per client in a supplemental report to its July/August issue.

ProVise, at 611 Druid Road E, is a fee-based financial planning firm.

Total assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2006, were $658-million. Assets through June 30 have grown to approximately $720-million. It was established in 1986 and Ray Ferrara is the firm's president and chief executive officer.

News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions, commercial sales and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed by jpeg file.

[Last modified July 26, 2007, 20:26:39]

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