Distinctive Women: Maurita Elias

By Jerry Lynott
The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Pennsylvania spa owner shares how she has been able to build her franchise to do a million dollars a year in business.


Give Maurita Elias an hour and she can change your life.

If someone walks into the Woodhouse Day Spa, she likes to say, they walk out a different person. Having owned the spa for more than 14 years, she spoke from experience.

“I love seeing the transformation in people from the time they come to the time they leave,” Elias said.

Elias was selected by the Times Leader as one of 20 Distinctive Women of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The more than 100-year-old, Tudor-style house at 387 Wyoming Ave. becomes a safe place where someone can escape from the daily grind through a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure or other skin or body treatment.

It was with that purpose that Elias, 57, and her husband, Robert, established a local franchise of the spa that started in Victoria, Texas, in 2001. Nationwide there are 60 franchises.

“I think that we had a real passion for starting the Woodhouse because we are very much into health and wellness, and we felt that the spa industry was the perfect avenue to be able to get the message out and to educate the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Elias said.

It wasn’t their first venture together, however.

She earned her undergraduate degree and her MBA from Wilkes University. Once out of school she went to work at the former First Eastern Bank from 1983 to 1993. From there she and her husband, an attorney, opened up a Party City store franchise, that’s since relocated to Highland Park Boulevard in Wilkes-Barre Township.

“It’s cool to see something that we started still going,” she said.

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