Meet your Hosts – Duke and Nichol
We’re glad you are here, taking the time to learn about us and our World Class Day Spa and Wellness Center. Both Nichol and Duke are active in the day-to-day activities of the Spa, working with guests and staff to make sure your visit is every bit as relaxing and invigorating as you want it to be.
Co-Owner, Fitness Professional
Hello, my name is Duke Harvey. I was born in Cleveland, MS, a long time ago. I have five siblings of which I’m the youngest boy. My family moved from Mississippi in 1976 to Chicago, Illinois. What a change! From slow pace to fast pace, overnight.
My family stayed in Chicago a few years until my parents decided it was time for another change. We moved to Middleton, Wisconsin in 1981. The second major culture shock of my life. I’m very proud to say that I have a very cool mom that always showed me love and taught me how to understand and accept the good things that life has to offer. I left Middleton and moved to Madison the following year. There I went to Verona High School and later graduated from West High School. I’ve been part of this community for decades and know a lot of the people in the area.
After high school, I continued to explore life and landed my first full time job in 1984, at Humana Insurance Co. In April 1985, my son was born. I resigned from Humana in April 2002 as an Account Executive Medical Underwriter. During the 18+ years in Corporate America, I learned to tailor my life – to stay focused on what I enjoy and what makes me happy.
I’m a people person – I enjoy meeting new folks and learning about them. It’s a natural thing for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
I got into Personal Training more than 30 years ago. My interest in fitness grew and from there I moved forward to Natural Bodybuilding – a major “rush,” extremely fun and exciting. I met Nichol, my business partner, at my second home – Bally’s Health Club. Eleven months later in December 1997, Nichol and I purchased Kneaded Relief Day Spa. Another goal completed. I enrolled at A SpiriTouch Massage School in July 1999 and completed the 700 hour program in: Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Reiki I, Posturology by Paul St. John, trigger point, acupressure massage, sports massage, lymphatic drainage massage (head, neck and shoulders), St. John’s Neuromuscular Pelvic Stabilization, utilization motions massage, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy massage. I graduated from A SpiriTouch Massage School in May 2000. Finally, my life was in COLOR. I truly embrace the loyalty of love and have found peace in my journey to believe in fate (all things happen for a reason). Massage, what can I say: I truly love it. It’s a passion that I can’t put into words. As I have been told, “there’s nothing like a Duke massage.” Come to Kneaded Relief and find out.
My next journey is to get to know you. Live in peace and keep smiling.
Co-Owner, WI Licensed Esthetician
The path that led me to Kneaded Relief was not one that was planned. I had never even heard of Kneaded Relief Day Spa until I found out it was for sale. I was working part-time as an Assistant Spa Manager for nine months at a spa on the west side. It was mentioned to me that Kneaded Relief was for sale and I immediately thought of Duke. Duke had always dreamed of opening a fitness studio, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. We toyed with the idea of changing the spa into a Fitness Studio with one-on-one personal training while keeping the massage aspect. We finally met with the current owners and instantly connected. Our goals, aspirations, and philosophies were so similar. They had interviewed several potential buyers, but never felt the connection. We decided that we did not want to change the spa into a Fitness Studio and that the spa offered a refuge for the community that we couldn’t remove. After two short months of developing a business plan with no business background, we became the owners of Kneaded Relief. December 13, 1997, was our first day in business. I remember the days of sitting at the front desk, twiddling my fingers, wondering what I was to do next. Boy, have times changed! Our staff has quadrupled and we’re continually adding service offerings. We feel we have created a place for the community to relax, de-stress and truly be taken care of. One thing that our staff respects us for is not hiring just anyone because we need a warm body. We are very particular about whom we hire and they go through a long process to become a part of the Kneaded Relief team. We owe that to our guests.
As far as my path to esthetics, this occurred after we purchased Kneaded Relief. My Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin was not going to get me very far in the Spa Industry, so I decided to go back to school. I had developed a sincere interest in skin care working as Assistant Spa Manager. I have always had struggles with my skin; it’s in my genes. So, it was natural for me to learn more about esthetics. I went through the Esthetics Program at Southwest Technical College in Fennimore, WI. It was an invaluable experience and with 650 hours of education (200 hours more than the state requires), I felt I had a solid grasp of esthetics. I still yearned for more knowledge, so in my first year out of school, I took more than 100 hours of continuing education at the Conservatory of Esthetics, now known as the Bioelements Learning Center in Chicago. I love to learn and continue to take advanced education courses. I am trained in facials, waxing, and body treatments. Unfortunately as our business grew, I knew I would no longer be able to provide services and instead needed to focus on growing and expanding Kneaded Relief to its current location in Fitchburg. We are very proud that we were able to fulfill our dream and open a full service Day Spa and Wellness Center, incorporating a Personal Training Studio as we envisioned back in 1997.
Throughout our years in business, Duke and I sought out business courses that focused on the salon/spa industry. We were lucky to find the Strategies Business Academy based in Centerbrook, CT. The company is focused on changing the beauty industry by switching commission based salon/spas and to a guaranteed hourly/team based pay business. After much research and several classes with Strategies, we decided to change our business model and guarantee our therapists an hourly wage (which is atypical in this industry). We wanted them to have a sense of security with their career and have a career path to show how they can grow with us. Duke and I continued to take classes with Strategies, eventually achieving the Mastery Level. The next step was to go through the Strategies Certified Coaching Program. It has always been a love of mine to teach so it was a natural fit for me. I went through the intensive Coaching Program and in January 2009, received my Certified Strategies Coach certificate. I feel blessed to be able to serve this industry by helping other salon/spas reach success and am honored to be affiliated with a company like Strategies.
I find the hardest, yet most important thing to do is to take time for us. I feel being in the “giving” field, we always give to others, but rarely take time for ourselves. Outside of work, I like to spend time with my grandson, Milam III, who we have had custody of since he was 10 months old & our son, Amari; hang out with our dog, Moxy, an American Staffordshire Terrier (the sweetest dog you’d ever meet!); and take long drives in the country with my husband – to do what else – talk about business! I don’t think I could have asked for a better partner in life and in business.
With that, I give you Kneaded Relief. I hope you enjoy the time you spend in our “home” because we truly feel honored to have established a space where you can come to escape the world. Join us at Kneaded Relief, take your shoes off and stay awhile…