5×5 Night at Start Garden!
Voting Closes:

June 17, 2024 11:59 pm

About this idea
We offer a high-quality Nordic sauna experience in a clean and thoughtful environment. Guests sign up for a session which provides 70 minutes of access to the facility. During that time, they move in and out of the sauna at their own pace. Most people will spend 5-15 minutes in the heat, take a break, relax outside, rehydrate, take a cold plunge, and repeat. A staff member tends the wood-fired sauna heater and checks in guests. The pricing is $35 for a single session; $280 for a 10-session pack; and $125 for a monthly unlimited membership. Several things differentiate us from other saunas on the market. The closest things to our business model in Grand Rapids are day spas and gym saunas. Maybe the most important aspect of our business that sets us apart from competition is the size and inclusivity of the sauna room. The sauna can fit 10 guests at a time. We do accept private parties, but most sessions are public sessions. Also, it is a co-ed space which allows many couples and groups of friends to sauna together. All of this results in a really fun social atmosphere that is rare in the marketplace. Another differentiator is that our sauna is a prefabricated building, built on a trailer. Half of the building is a beautiful cedar-lined sauna (with windows!), the other half is a mud room with cubbies and a private changing room. The fact that we have a small, efficient space means that we can save on expensive MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, & plumbing) costs that would be associated with a brick-and-mortar facility. The final differentiator is the wood fired sauna heater that we use. There is something special about the enveloping heat created by a wood-fired stove which an electric sauna heater cannot replicate.
Impact
The goal of Hearth Sauna is to deliver an experience for our patrons that is fun for them in the moment, improves their mood for rest of their day, and positively impacts their long-term health. The fun part is subjective. We think contrast (Hot/cold) therapy feels awesome and is a perfect activity to do with friends. The other claims are rooted in science. Several scientific studies suggest that sauna improves mood and promotes relaxation. Other long-term studies suggest that regular sauna use can improve cardiovascular health, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve respiratory tract function. Please see our website (hearthsauna.com) for more information about these scientific studies. Perhaps the biggest positive impact from a sauna session comes because the room is too hot for phones and other electronics. It's a space to disconnect from the internet and reconnect with yourself and/or friends.
What I'll do with $5,000
Hearth Sauna opened its doors in November 2023 in Grand Rapids. We leased a plot of land that offered neither water nor electrical utilities. For this reason, we were very limited in our ability to offer proper cold exposure in the warm months. Our guests have loved the heat of the sauna but have made it clear that the cold exposure really balances out the whole experience and takes it to another level. The Grand Rapids location has closed for the summer while we search for a new space with water and electric utilities. We have several promising leads! With this $5,000 grant we would purchase an industrial cold plunge tub with a chiller, pump and filter. This will cool down the sauna bathers in the summer and allow us to operate year-round. We plan to purchase an ice bath from local artisan David Stoffer, owner of Nightjar Sauna.
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