By Doug Hare EBS STAFF WRITER
In 2002, Callie Stolz had what she calls a “second serious health opportunity.” It was during that time that she recognized the importance of complementary and alternative healing modalities. Stolz decided to pursue her dream of of offering others that were on a path of healing a place that offered many avenues to do just that while collaborating with other like-minded individuals.
Although determined to eventually open a wellness center, Stolz recognized that she had much to learn if she wanted to offer these kinds of services. For the next decade, she spent years educating herself and gaining experience in the field of healing arts: teaching yoga, doing massage and practicing Ayurvedic medicine.
Santosha Wellness Center opened in the summer of 2012. During busy seasons, Stolz now has nearly 20 teachers and practitioners offering a variety of services from her studio in the Westfork Meadows.
Explore Big Sky: What has been the key to your success?
Callie Stoltz: Creating a feeling of community both in the people who work at Santosha and for those that come to Santosha. Also, I feel it is really important for me to continue to grow and learn, both personally and professionally, in order to feel inspired and to continue to bring more to offer back to Santosha and the community.
EBS: Do you remember your first customer?
C.S.: Our first customers were a class of 15 people in our first yoga class. It is incredible to me how many of those original 15 students we still see on a regular basis at Santosha. That is really gratifying to me.
EBS:What are the biggest obstacles to operating a small business in Big Sky?
C.S.: The limitations of housing in Big Sky create a challenge to attract and recruit enough individuals to meet the growing demands of our community. Also, trying to find balance for people working here given the ebb and flow of the influx of people coming in and quieter times.
EBS: How has the business landscape changed since you started out?
C.S.: It started out with my idea of it being a bit more like a co-op of wellness professionals. Although it has continued to be that way to some degree, I also realized that it needed to feel a bit more cohesive and all under the umbrella of Santosha. So we further developed the website and the online booking system and some other refinements and details within the center. We have also tried to continue to add more services by adding an esthetician, the far-infrared sauna, bringing acupuncture back, as well as continuously adding more workshops and seminars people may be interested in to continue to expand our offerings.
EBS: What is it about Big Sky that compels you to stick it out through the hard times?
C.S.: I love it here, this is my home. I have been here for the most part for nearly 23 years and I love the mountain, this community and the people in it.
EBS: What is one of the most memorable moments you have had as a resident/business owner in Big Sky?
C.S.: That’s a tough one, as there are many. But within my time at Santosha, it may have been last summer on June 21 starting out the summer solstice and opening up the day of Soul Shine with 108 sun salutations and an awesome group of people to share it with.
EBS: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
C.S.: “Partners are for dancing. YOU can do this, it’s YOUR dream.”
EBS: What advice would you give to small business owners just starting out in Big Sky?
C.S.: Take care of yourself. Even when you could not feel busier, take the time you need for you to stay healthy, happy and strong otherwise you’ll burn out and then what’s the point of it all?
EBS: Where do you see your business in 10 years?
C.S.: Continuing to thrive as a wellness center with a strong sense of community, but also adding in more retreats and workshops to the mix as well as a possible second location/retreat center called Santosha Sanctuary.