Stamford couple put faith in new sauna business
The married couple opened Haute Sauna in January at 792 Pacific St. in the city’s South End. The spa features saunas with infrared lighting, a type of sauna the Chichesters credit with helping them to, respectively, recover from firefighting and powerlifting injuries. Combining the infrared light with colored-light “chromotherapy,” aromatherapy and massage therapy, the owners believe their new enterprise stands out in the competitive health and wellness market.
“After just a few treatments, I noticed my back pain started to diminish and my inflammation was going away,” Peter Chichester said in a recent interview at Haute. “Jessica was also using it, and a lot of her joint pain from her time powerlifting went away. Our hair, skin and mood got better. It was literally then: How do you give this feeling to other people?”
Picking the approximately 3,000-square-foot location, which formerly housed a dog-care facility, came relatively easily to the Chichesters, who grew up and still live in the city’s Middle Ridges section. In his other job as a city firefighter, Peter Chichester, 45, is based a couple of blocks away at the station at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Atlantic Street. Jessica Chichester, 35, teaches English at Cloonan Middle School.
Between the firehouse and Haute stand several of the apartment buildings in the Harbor Point mixed-use complex, which is the home of several thousand people.
“I started looking in this area because we wanted to build this where the people are,” Peter Chichester said. “These people get off the train at 7 at night. But they had nowhere to go to de-stress."
For more information on Haute Sauna, at 792 Pacific St., visit www.hautesauna.com. Haute, owned by firefighter Peter Chichester and teacher Jessica Chichester, offers 25 percent discounts on memberships for first responders and teachers.
After an extensive renovation, the Chichesters have created a center with six private sauna rooms. Each of them has a distinct atmosphere, with its own combination of infrared light, chromotherapy — the chromotherapy hues are visible; the infrared rays are not — and scents for aromatherapy. Calming ambient music provides the soundtrack.
The sauna chambers are set for 140 degrees. Clients can burn up to 600 calories in a 30-minute session, the Chichesters said.
“When you walk out of there, you have the detoxifying effects,” Jessica Chichester said. “It’s working on your body and cellular regeneration at a much deeper level.”
This week, Haute added massage services, with four therapists whose specialties include deep tissue, Swedish and sports recovery-focused techniques.
Client Patrick Blois goes to Haute nearly every day for a sauna session. He said he has noticed improvements in his well-being and appearance.
“It’s the one hour of the day to myself where I get to literally leave everything behind, relax and enjoy myself,” Blois said. “It’s like going on vacation when I go there. It’s the best new thing that I do.”
Haute, which employs 14 full time and part time, operates around the corner from another new wellness center, Remedy Bodyworks at 36 Dyke Lane. But the Chichesters and Haute’s spa manager, Susie Mendizabal, said their business is not trying to compete with their neighbor. Nor are they vying for customers with local gyms.
“We don’t want people to replace their workout regimens with a sauna,” Mendizabal said. “This is adding to your routine, so it allows you to reach your goals much quicker and much faster in a much healthier way.”
The Chichesters and Mendizabal also cite the importance of their faith to their business; they all belong to the same congregation, Connect Community Church on High Ridge Road.
“We love people,” Jessica Chichester said. “We want to see people feel comfortable and safe and get better so they can reach their highest potential.”