With the help of Massage Without Borders, Compass spa reopens

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

With the help of Massage Without Borders, Compass spa in Ocean City reopens. With the help of Massage Without Borders, Compass spa in Ocean City reopens.

OCEAN CITY — Even the healers need healing once in a while.

Monique DeLozier Bottatlico thought she hit bottom in the long recovery process when the flooded out, gutted space at 803 East Eighth St., which once housed a thriving spa and wellness center, seemed like it might never return.

Then, a huge windfall miraculously fell in her lap.

A philanthropic organization known as Massage Without Borders notified her that they were “adopting” her business, Compass Massage and Wellness, which she spent more than a decade building. Massage Without Borders, a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide relief for the massage therapy and healing arts community during times of crisis, donated $3,000 and two massage tables to help Bottalico get back up and running.   

“It was amazing,” Bottalico said.

The generosity of complete strangers, she said, continues to inspire her.

“I’m used to being the healer, and after the storm, everyone is hurting and suffering, and I can’t help them,” she said through her tears. “It was so frustrating. People need their table time and Massage Without Borders came through for us.

“I did not have contents insurance,” she said. “I thought I would be OK, but you can’t believe how everything adds up. Most of our work is therapeutic massage. I didn’t think I would need contents insurance. Everything in the desks, the wooden tables, all the linens, it was overwhelming how much was ruined.”

A Mermaid massage table that is worth $5,000 was ruined by the water.

“It was a great tool and fun to work on, but it’s gone,” Bottalico said.

“I had hot stones that were shipped from Florida, the list just goes on and on,” she said. “My sport table, everything was ruined. In all, I lost upwards of $14,000. I have insurance on the building, but I haven’t received a penny. In eight weeks, I have nothing,” she said. “I own the store, but it’s a condo association and it’s all tied up. So trying to get this place up and running again, and get my employees back to work has been very difficult.”

The storm surge sent water several feet high down Eighth Street.

“When Hurricane Irene hit last year, we put everything up high, unfortunately that gave us a false sense of security. Irene was supposed to be the real kicker, but she was nothing. We have a lot of heavy equipment; we just never expected that we would have so much water in here,” she said.

A manager at Compass put some of the computers and other equipment up high, out of the water’s reach, and has been at Bottalico’s side throughout the ordeal.

The recently married Bottalico has been back and forth between Midland, Texas and Ocean City since her husband took a new job. She was in Texas when the storm hit, but came home immediately.

The ground floor of her four-story, Victorian home near Sixth Street and Central Avenue was completely flooded.

“I got hit on two fronts,” she said. “I went home first, after that I could hardly face coming to the spa. I didn’t know what to expect.

“It was traumatic,” she said. “It was wet, and it smelled like seaweed. Usually this is a healing place, a wonderful aroma, but not after the ocean came through.

“It looked like the bottom of the sea,” she said. “It was gut wrenching, very, very bad. It was heartbreaking. My home, my business and my mom’s home were ruined. It was so sad.”

She said seeing the downtown broke her heart.

“We’re not the only ones,” she said. “When you look around you realize how many people have been affected …”

Bottalico said the experience has been traumatic.

“I bought a grief recovery book,” she said. “We are coming back, through grace. My family, my friends have been so kind. Financially, it’s been a huge drain. What do people do who don’t have someone helping?”

Bottalico graduated Ocean City High School in 1983 and went to the Owens Institute of Holistic Healing. She started in the massage business in 1997 in a small store front on Eighth Street next to Ready’s Coffee Shop.

“Then, we went into a big commercial space in the Homestead for a while, and then the opportunity to buy a commercial space nearby where I am now came up, so I decided to buy,” she said. “I figured it would be better to buy than to rent. When you rent you are at the mercy of a landlord. So at least I can say I am glad that I bought it.”   

Bottalico said she considers herself “truly blessed” that Massage Without Borders found her.

“I’m so blown away that these people, who don’t even know me, are doing this,” she said.

“I really blame myself. A lot of people are too proud to say they don’t have insurance, I have to admit, I was just not prepared. As a business person, that’s hard to do, but maybe someone else can learn something from it.

“It was a salt water baptism,” she said. “I have to forgive the water and move on. I was raised here, the salt water is part of me. I learned you don’t take chances, and you don’t presume anything. Hopefully, people will take the time that I didn’t to make sure they have proper coverage.”

Bottalico said she is very proud of her hometown and hopes the town heals quickly.

“I am so grateful for everything that people have done to help us,” she said. “I did not lose life and limb, I’m OK. I don’t like dealing with contractors and insurance agents, but it’s part of the healing process for my home and business.”

She said the city has been wonderful, providing free dumpsters and cleaning up.

“The city put them out, they got filled up and taken away and a new one was in place. That was an important part of the healing, to get that stuff out of sight. The city has done everything possible to lessen the burden. We are so blessed to be in this town. I can’t say enough about how helpful they have been.

“Hopefully we will come back stronger,” Bottalico said. “It’s amazing how our spirits are tested. You never know the lesson and what’s to come of it.

“It’s been a real journey,” she said.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness.

Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the interior of Compass Spa and Wellness.


blog comments powered by Disqus