For two years after she moved to Raleigh, Robin Berning commuted four hours to Alexandria, Va., on the weekends to work at her friend’s spa.
During the week, she gave massages to clients in a rented room at a Raleigh gym and made plans to open her own spa.
“I’m a natural healer and I’m a natural nurturer,” said Berning, 46. “I genuinely love helping people.”
By 2008, Berning bought a rundown home on North Boylan Avenue near downtown and converted it into a full-service spa that offers pedicures, massages and hair and makeup services, along with alternative wellness treatments like energy healing.
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She was finally able to stop her weekend commute.
Simple Bliss Spa is modeled after her friend’s award-winning spa in Virginia, Sugar House Day Spa & Salon. While Berning remodeled the Raleigh home, she didn’t yet have a name for her business, so she temporarily called it Sugar House South.
Berning knew she wanted to tap into the growing market of alternative wellness treatments. Customers at Simple Bliss can try reiki, a process that aims to restore a person’s energy through touch. Berning also hosts monthly energy shares, which bring people together to release negative feelings.
Berning said she has known about these kinds of techniques for years and has seen more and more clients interested in them. They’ve been well-received in Raleigh, she said.
“I believe in divine timing, so we put it out there and it’s been fabulous,” Berning said.
Such treatments can be key for people to achieve total wellness, according to Berning.
“It’s my philosophy that beauty and peace come from within,” she said. “There are a lot of people who can walk around and pretend like they have a perfect life, but they’re really unhappy.”
Simple Bliss also takes a more traditional approach to services. Berning often hires people who approach their specialty with a medical mindset. She still does massages for clients, many of them sent to her by chiropractors.
Massages help relieve pain and discomfort, but they can also help balance the body and mind, Berning said. It may not seem like medicine, but it is.
“We use all the wonderful things but that doesn’t diminish the therapeutic work we do,” she said.
Berning sees the importance of spa treatments. She gets regular massages, pedicures, facials and has reiki sessions. She said it keeps her balanced and able to give her clients the same kind of relaxation she finds.
“I can’t preach to my guests they should do this for their health and wellness and not do it myself,” she said.
About the series
The North Raleigh News and Midtown Raleigh News are publishing a series of stories about locally owned businesses in Raleigh. Do you know of a business you’d like to see featured? Email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more
Simple Bliss Spa is located at 113 N. Boylan Ave., Raleigh. For more information, call the spa at 919-896-7641.