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Merritt Medi Spa Entrepreneur Spotlight: Anastaszia Cash

Owner/Operator of Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa

Experience Nicola Valley’s Sit-Down with one of Merritt’s Newest Storefronts

 

Merritt Medi Spa : A couple of weeks ago I put together a promotion at Community Futures Nicola Valley. I wanted to promote some local women entrepreneurs here in Merritt BC for International Women’s Day on March 8th. This was how I met the owner and operator of Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa, Anastaszia Cash.

Merritt Medi Spa Anastaszia Cash

Anastaszia was a fantastic collaborator to work with during the International Women’s Day promotion. We wound up having a huge success over on the CFNV social media; but I could tell there was a larger story at hand and I wanted to investigate for myself. Luckily, I write a series of articles about Nicola Valley entrepreneurs on Experience Nicola Valley!

Merritt Medi Spa Owner Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Anastaszia Cash. Anastaszia and her dog, doing ministry work.

Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons – The Beginning

Upon request for an interview, Anastaszia made arrangements quickly and easily. I got a sit-down interview spanning about an hour, as well as a guided tour of the Medi Spa! During our interview, I learned more about both Anastaszia and her husband Wes, who helps run this Merritt Medi Spa. They had an unreal story to tell, and I was honoured to be given the opportunity to hear it.

Meet Wes and Anastaszia 

Wes and Anastaszia’s career moves led to bicoastal American opportunities in New York, LA & San Jose. Wes was in international demand as a body builder and a fire suppression technician. Anastaszia had made a name for herself as an international gospel preacher, martial artist and master in the beauty industry.

A Long Road Leads to the Nicola Valley

A string of back to back, multiple car accidents, however, would interrupt their plans with countless surgeries. Wes, in particular, endured a broken neck & back. Anastaszia with a severe brain injury, two back to back heart attacks and kidney issues.  Anastaszia and Wes found their previous lifestyles unsafe to continue to pursue, so bottom line – things had to change. A relocation from the Vancouver area felt like a fresh start because the couple found the big city was lacking a personal touch.

Community: The Missing Ingredient

During my interview it became clear, time and again, just how much the Desert Divas couple value community. For example, since opening, first responders and military personnel receive 20% off all services. Anastaszia works closely with members of Kids Play Foundation to provide scholarships for youth in need, and she’s even networked with shelters and care centres across the BC interior to provide restorative services for people who may be bearing the scars of abuse.

And There is More Too!

As I was wrapping up this article, Anastaszia contacted me about another initiative she has taken on. In response to the growing reports of dangerous activity in BC, she wanted me to inform readers of a secret “menu item” when it comes to a “desert facial”.  Anastaszia prides her patrons somewhere safe and secure to wait if they’re concerned that they might be being followed or harassed.  Desert Divas staff will contact authorities if requested. 

It’s a lifestyle centered around bringing good to those around you – and I found it very inspiring on a personal level.

A Desert Diamond in the Valley

This commitment to community is inspiring! But how does the Medi-Spa itself stack up? Admittedly, I felt a little out of my depth here; as a rural twenty-something boy, writing about spa life. But where familiarity fails, research prevails, so I hit the web and studied as much as I could in advance of my interview. As far as my newly enriched understanding could tell, Desert Divas and Dons represents a world class experience!

Technology At Work

The technologies at work here are huge, international names; treatments like OxyGeneo and DermaStamp are available at a price point that Anastaszia says leaves enough savings for her coastal clientele to commute down and see her. The medi-spa itself is Health Canada certified, with a massive emphasis on safety, sanitization and professionalism.

A Passion Stemming from Personal Experience

Anastaszia has spent several years working in what is considered the beauty industry. However, there is significant stigma against the industry. One point in case, vanity can lead to body issues and negativity. Admittedly, I used to see things from that angle myself. Anastaszia however, relates the procedures she performs back to her own life and previous experiences with abuse. She sees opportunity for people to find a fresh start by healing wounds and erasing pain – both physically, and emotionally. In her own life, aesthetician work has helped her find confidence and start again.

Anastaszia also provided this picture of herself, on duty as a chaplain.

A Learning Experience

I came to the Merritt medi-spa feeling a bit out of my depth. Someone with my lifestyle, I had figured, is going to be a pretty unlikely client. But the experience I found here was surprisingly genuine, deeply sincere and honestly kind of moving. I wound up specifically appreciating the joie-de-vivre on display here at Desert Divas.  Anastaszia and Wes have lived a tremendous story together, and while pain has been a significant part of their story, they refuse to let it be a story of pain. It’s a huge distinction, and it’s one I don’t know if I understood before having this meeting. 

In Conclusion

Anastaszia got in touch with me a few more times after the initial visit to see if I needed any help with the article? Anastaszia, also let me know she has taken more steps  to becoming a community leader. For example, Anastaszia Cash EDU, an education program for aestheticians that she developed herself is off to a great start. Her work with Kids Play Foundation is developing more and more each day, and she continues to seek local youths to provide mentorship at her spa, offering the opportunity to get Merritt residents a foot in the door on a valuable career opportunity. 

Merritt Medi-Spa: My Takeaways

For my own part, I got to make two great new friends! Wes and Anastaszia are welcoming and open, and their commitment to community is inspiring. Stigma is often attached to smaller towns like the idea that if you’re not born here or raised here, you won’t be given the chance to belong. Anastaszia and Wes admitted that upon first opening their business, some people were hesitant, but with time Merrittonians have come to appreciate that it’s the real deal! 

I left personally inspired to be more positive in my day to day interactions, as well. We’re rarely given the opportunity to change the hand we are dealt, but we’re always in charge of whether we accept it with a smile or choose to let it beat us. Thanks for the chat, and the words of wisdom, Anastaszia and Wes!

CONTACT US:

2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC V1K 1R6

(250) 936-9200

info@desertdivasanddonsspa.com

Facebook / Instagram

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COVID 19 in Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley hunkers down in self isolation creating some quality time for self reflection and some random musings.

Merritt British Columbia, Canada and the COVID 19 pandemic has created a new normal.

COVID 19 in Merritt BC – Never before, could we have imagined that the community of Merritt BC Canada, the country of Canada and the tourism industry would be brought to a stand still. Life as we knew it changed in just under 2 months ago. Consequently, I will be the first to admit we were caught off guard. Did not see this storm coming. 

The Realities of COVID 19 in Merritt BC

Not long ago tourists were planning summer vacations, public music events, road trips and adventures to  the Nicola Valley. Today, we are cancelling vacations, taking up long lost hobbies, learning new technology, self educating, working from home, as well as, maintaining social distancing when we go out into our communities. It is a brand new world. 

“This is not an equal opportunity pandemic. … Marginalized communities will be disproportionately impacted.” — Katherine Scot, a senior economist with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

social distancing in merriitt

Social distancing in the Nicola Valley

Stars of Self Isolation

The crisis named COVID 19 has shown many of us here and around the world who the real heroes are in our country. Our musicians, actors, sports stars are no different than us during this COVID 19 era. They too are in self isolating. They too are in lock down. 

The Real Hero’s in Our Communities

Look who has emerged as our community heroes. The grocery store employee, the guy pumping your gas, the delivery person who brings you your pizza, the truck driver who stocks our stores, the person who picks up our garbage,  our health care workers and others. A big “Virtual Group Hug” goes out to all who are keeping the lights on in our communities.  They are the foot soldiers fighting this battle on the front lines. 

front line workers in merritt

Support our front line health care workers.

Merritt BC is Not Immune

In Merritt BC it may look like COVID 19 is non existent. Just because we are not seeing and hearing the numbers of COVID 19 cases in the Nicola Valley or in the Thompson-Okanagan region, does not mean it is not here. Consequently, lets remind ourselves  that all it takes is one carrier of the virus to take down a community. Why take a chance and roll the dice with the Devil himself? 

Grow Some Manners

Fortunately and unfortunately I have seen the true colors in some people come out during COVID 19. Mostly it is all good, some not so good. The good is most of us our respecting each others space as we self isolate. Sad, is that not everyone is being kind. How people can be so rude and disrespectful boggles my mine. For example, while getting groceries I witnessed a man swear at a Senior in a grocery store because she said he was too close to her. Valid right, not to mention it is her life that is at risk. How would anyone take offence to that comment? I was disgusted in the man. The lack of respect was unacceptable. I spoke up and then was told to %^$# as well. The senior smiled and said thank you. 

 

Be thankful Merritt. We are Lucky

Regardless of your opinion, real or not, that is beside the point.  The point is we are one of the lucky ones… so far. That is something to be grateful for as that means our friends and family are in a safer situation than in other areas of the country and world. Recently I am reminded how lucky we really are to have dedicated nurses and doctors in Canada. I have heard and seen the honking, and beeping cars, trucks, ambulances and police as they drive by saluting the Nicola Valley Hospital.  It is a beautiful thing. 

Be Kind During Self Isolation 

Social distancing to me is an opportunity to show my respect and love for our seniors and elders, my friends and family and to all the people in my community and Canada.  I have a renewed admiration for those that keep positive in this very challenging time. I get it. It is hard.  I am practicing self isolation too because I do not want to be part of the problem. By the same token I want to be part of the solution. So, I do my best and phone my friends and loved ones regularly because I care and do not want them to to be engulfed in a dark world surrounded by loneliness.

Who are your Self Isolation Heroes?

I believe we need to look and start acknowledging the Nicola Valley self isolating heroes more. Why not push out some positive messages of active people in the community who are holding back their social urges because it is the right thing to do. Examples of good people doing such a thing are people like Tom and Shirley Reynolds right here in Merritt BC.

“It’s a time to look forward, not behind. I think it’s timely to think ahead. Yes we’re faced with another global health challenge, but every day will be a little better than the day before. We’re looking forward.” — Darrell Fox, Terry Fox’s brother, on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Marathon of Hope.

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Tom and Shirley Reynolds practicing self isolation

This is a Test on Humanity

The only way I see us coming out of this is to continue to practice self isolation, social distancing and being kind to each people. When this is all said and done, many must ask themselves, “Was I a good person during COVID 19?” and “Did I help the problem or did I contribute to it?” In conclusion, it is times like these when one’s morals, ethics and integrity are measured. How do you measure up on the humanity scale?

Nicola Valley Self Isolation Lessons

COVID 19 in Merritt BC

 

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