New day spa provides a downtown refuge with locals in mind

MADAWASKA, Maine — Just a few feet away from Main Street, inside one of Oasis Day Spa’s treatment rooms, the only sound is the soft trickle of an indoor waterfall. Owner Kelly Picard first opened the spa, hair and nail salon last August, but after nine months of renovations and expansions, the ribbon cutting will take place May 8. 

Oasis’ front room is dotted with classic manicure and hair treatment stations — across the hall is a more serene pedicure room. Farther back, Picard has set up a massage room, a spray tan room, a tanning bed and a Himalayan salt treatment room.

Picard has been a nail technician for over a decade. She began by taking customers in her living room before moving on to be a tech at Alete Salon and Spa, where she worked for eight years. Now, owning her own salon is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream.

“It doesn’t even feel like I have a job,” Picard said. “I’m happy here.” 

During the past year, Picard and her husband Gary, a local carpenter, have upgraded the building, adding walls, rewiring where necessary and even adding an intricate tin-style ceiling in the pedicure room — something Picard said is a favorite for many customers. She’s fascinated with the history of the building, which spent past lives as an H&R Block, a clothing shop and a penny-candy store.

At the salon, Picard focuses especially on providing all-natural and locally sourced products — scrubs and lotions, for example. Plus, her technicians are bilingual. It’s these details and her love of the building’s authenticity that she said are important when it comes to contributing to the community. 

“I love this town,” Picard said. “I’ve been local all my life. We need business in town and Main St. needs a little uplifting here and there but it brings people in and it brings smiles to people’s faces.”

Originally a certified nursing assistant, Picard is particularly invested in the healthcare side of the industry. She wants to pursue a license to become a medical nail technician in the future, which would allow her to treat some podiatric ailments and give clients more in-depth advice on foot care.

“I don’t really do fingernails as much any more — I find people need a lot more assistance on their feet because you’re on your feet all day long,” Picard said. “There’s men that come here just as much as women.”

At Saturday’s opening, from 1 to 3 p.m. guests will be able to come and go, tour the building, and enjoy pizza, popcorn and a jewelry booth outside. The Madawaska beautification committee will also be selling raffle tickets. Now approaching her busy season, Picard said the salon is booked out until early June, but encouraged interested customers to call and set up an appointment.

Wall art in Madawaska’s newest salan, Oasis Day Spa, which will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 8. (Hannah Catlin | St. John Valley Times)

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