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New wellness center and spa opens in Largo, offers high-end services for affordable costs

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SASMA Wellness Center complete with spa services, is opening in Largo, Md. with a grand opening celebration on March 1. SASMA Wellness Center is a family-owned business. Courtesy photo

SASMA Wellness Center complete with spa services, is opening in Largo, Md. with a grand opening celebration on March 1. SASMA Wellness Center is a family-owned business. Courtesy photo

Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alexis A. Goring, Sentinel Lifestyle Reporter

A new wellness center complete with spa services is opening in Largo, Md. with a grand opening celebration on March 1. SASMA Wellness Center is a family-owned business headed by matriarch Sumintra “Ivy” Alli, president of SASMA Wellness Center and her daughter Shakiera “Marilyn” Hockaday-Bey who is the manager. Together, they hope to rejuvenate the county with their holistic approach to health.

SASMA is an acronym for Alli’s family of five: The first ‘S’ stands for Sumintra who is the mom (Ivy), the ‘A’ stands for Akbar who is the dad, the second ‘S’ stands for Shakiera (Marilyn), the ‘M’ stands for Mohammed (Marilyn’s brother), and the ‘A’ stands for Atique who is also Marilyn’s brother. The company mission of SASMA Wellness Center is to provide “What the mind wants, what the body desires and what the mind craves.”

“It’s more than a spa because we’re treating the whole body and it’s more therapeutic and then we have our health food store as well so it’s combination of taking care of the body to rejuvenate and renew the body,” said Hockaday-Bey. “We approach the body from a therapeutic point of view. All of our services are to help the body get back to harmony. For instance, the Herbal V-Steam for females helps to balance hormones, fight yeast and bacteria, balances the blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area, tightness the tissue, and helps with fibroids.”

According to Hockaday-Bey, SASMA has been around for over 30 years but wanted a new location to bring about a transformation. The spa in Fort Washington is called Herbal Infusion. It opened its doors for business nine years ago and is SASMA’s first official spa model tested in the county where the spa is connected to a store that sells vitamins and supplements. But when SASMA’s clientele began asking for services closer to Largo and Upper Marlboro, SASMA knew it would be a good move to branch out. Due to the fact that Marilyn and her mom wanted to do spa treatments, they needed a bigger location and better visibility. So they chose to move the location to Largo.

“We needed to find another location when Capital Plaza Mall closed down,” said Hockaday-Bey. “There weren’t too many options because there weren’t many commercial spaces available. We try to keep it in the area where most of our customer and clients were from before and they have followed us throughout the years. We have a good clientele.”

Hockaday-Bey and Alli have always into health and nutrition with a passion to help people and treat the whole body. Alli started the business 30 years ago when they opened shop at a kiosk in Prince George’s Plaza in the early 1980s and simultaneously ran another location in New Carrollton Mall for one year. But they eventually closed the kiosk and two years later they set up shop in Capital Plaza. Marilyn’s parents operated the kiosk and a two store fronts—one in New Carrollton Mall and one in Capital Plaza Mall for at least 18 years. Long before opening shop in Prince George’s County, it was Alli’s dream while living in Guyana, to have her own health food store and her husband was behind her vision. He provided support as they sold their business that they were operating in in Guyana, migrated to the United States in the 1970’s and established SASMA.

“As most immigrants, they came here to provide a better opportunity for their children. Well, in my eyes they have done so much more than that,” said Hockaday-Bey. “They have not only provided a better life for their children, they have touched so many lives in the past 30 years. When you are in the type of business that we are in, you have to have a heart to help others. After all these years, customers still come from the original kiosk in P.G. Plaza and seek them out. They have developed friends and family over the years not customers.”

Many high-end businesses choose to not open shop in Prince George’s County, they run from it because of the crime rates. But SASMA choose Prince George’s County despite the odds.

“The people who live in Prince George’s County tend to go out of the county to do their business so if we can keep them here with us,” said Hockaday-Bey. “We will be able to keep the business in the county. Despite what you hear about the county, I personally think it is a great county to work and live in.”

SASMA Wellness Center offers a variety of services that are on par with spa industry standards. The spa services include body wrap, colonic, body scrub, Herbal V-steam, sauna, ear candling, Reiki, massages, holistic consultation and Aqua Chi. Not only does SASMA offer on par services, their prices are unbeatable—the highest price for a service is $150.00 for a 90 minute massage and during Spa Week, a national promotional that is available every April and October, customers can receive a discount on two or three full-service spa treatments to only $50.00 each.

“We wanted to make sure that it was affordable for everyone and that it was something that we strive to provide,” said Hockaday-Bey. “There is such a need for these services for everyone.  I am hoping to fill that gap.”

SASMA has a vision to expand their wellness center, grow the business and open another location within the county within the next three years in order to meet the demand that is out there.

“With shows like Dr. Oz, people are looking for information and places where they can take control of their own health.  We are here to provide that,” said Hockaday-Bey. “We have always believed that you can heal the body if you provide the right environment for it internally.  It is great to see the shift in society.”

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