“We’re putting the man in mansion,” says Dave Raymond of himself and his business partner, Andy Brancato. They’re also putting the man in manicure.
These motorcycle buddies don’t seem like obvious owners of a day spa. Then again, the Men’s Spa at the Mansion, which opened in Peabody in May, isn’t your mom’s nail salon; it’s more like your dad’s favorite barber shop, with the added amenities of a city spa in the club-style atmosphere of a stately mansion. It’s a place to get a shave, a massage, and a facial, then play a game of pool or puff on a fat cigar on a porch overlooking Suntaug Lake.
Brancato wanted to open his own spot after decades in sales for his father’s barbershop supply business. “Every place has a different set of people,” says Brancato. “But barber shops always had this sense of camaraderie.” An afternoon of hot shaves and conversation has a way of building brotherhood.
Building his male-centric spa in the Peabody mansion satisfied another long-held curiosity. Brancato grew up just down the street, passing the house most days of his life, always wondering what was inside. He found out just 48 hours before he was due to sign a lease on a spot in Saugus. Hearing the mansion was available, Brancato looked it over, met the owners, and sealed the deal with a handshake. He approached Raymond, his buddy from a motorcycle club, for additional financial backing; they eventually decided to go in on the business together.
Dave Raymond (left) and Andy Brancato of the Men’s Spa at the Mansion.
Raymond, a Vietnam vet and former cop, says he never expected—”not in a million years!”—that he’d spend his retirement running a day spa. But it helps to have his strong hands complementing Brancato’s polished industry expertise. The historic Saltonstall Mansion has passed through wealthy families since the mid-1800s. But it needed some retrofitting to function as a day spa, and Raymond became the go-to construction guy. He did it all, like compartmentalizing the second floor into individual treatment rooms, now filled with “leather”- and “humidor”-scented candles; building the stylist units in the parlor; and installing ornate pressed metal on the wall behind the hair wash sinks.
There’s nothing unmanly about a day at the spa. “Guys like to take care of themselves, too, but they don’t always want to be the only man there,” says Raymond. This fraternity-like approach—discounts are offered for military, and a beer and wine service is being explored—has already led to early business exceeding expectations. The couches and massage tables are occupied by cops, executives, and guys in between.
“I love seeing them enjoy themselves, hanging out, waiting for their service,” says Brancato of the camaraderie he’s built. “It’s a dream come true.” peabodymensspa.com