This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By The BizLaunch Team

Emerald Massage Center is a woman-owned small business specializing in deep tissue, Swedish, hot stone and sports massages located in the Lyon Park neighborhood of Arlington.

“We love being in Lyon Park because it’s so charming and close to the Clarendon Metro station,” owner Amanda Silva said.

Having immigrated to the United States from Brazil at the age of 13, owning a small business has been a dream of a lifetime.

In her early twenties, Amanda became a licensed massage therapist. After working several years at various corporate massage franchises, in June 2019, Amanda decided to develop her business plan and Emerald Massage Center became a reality.

“My business partner was born and raised in Arlington and knows how great the community is,” Silva said when asked why she decided to locate her new venture in Arlington.

Like many entrepreneurs getting their business started, “I tackled everything myself,” described Silva when opening her new business — from creating the LLC to finding the commercial space, applying for permits, decorating and marketing her business.

Of course, starting a business hasn’t come without challenges, and the global pandemic has made the intimate nature of massage therapy difficult.

“My business was actually starting to take off the ground and do really well in February of 2020, only to be closed in March for nearly four months by the coronavirus,” Silva said.

Despite these challenges, Emerald Massage Center has been fortunate to have a loyal customer base, including Ruth Garvey, daughter of Libby Garvey, a member of the Arlington County Board.

“Ruth and her husband have been regular clients and have been wonderfully supportive of Emerald Massage Center,” Silva said.

Additionally, the ability to recruit talented massage therapists has been a huge added value to her business.

“Grady McGonagle’s knowledge, attention to detail and experience at five-star luxury spas in Washington, D.C. has been a great contribution to my business,” she said.

Over the next five years, Emerald Massage Center’s focus is growth with plans to remain at the same Lyon Park location.

“I really enjoy checking out the wonderful farmer’s markets in Arlington, eating at Pupatella Neapolitan Pizzeria and El Fuego Peruvian Kitchen,” Silva said. “I think that coming from extreme poverty has made me really appreciate all of the affluence and prosperity that Arlington has to offer.”

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