Debra Florio Unfurls Her Entrepreneurial Spirit
Oct 31, 2014 03:48PM
● By Linda Sechrist
In 2002, while ruminating over the fact that four of their five daughters were either in college or planning for matriculation, Debra Florio and her husband agreed that their nearly empty nest presented them with the perfect opportunity for a move from East Islip, New York, to Southwest Florida. From that realization, the couple decided the next step was to combine a celebration of their wedding anniversary with a trip to Florida to investigate job and housing possibilities from Naples to Venice.
Florio, the owner of Contour Bodyworks, in Fort Myers, and Sculpted Beauty by Cavi-Lipo, in Bonita Springs, fondly recalls the adventure. “It was easy to fall in love with Fort Myers because we saw so many billboards with signs for the hospitals in the area, noted the many car dealerships and found a four-bedroom, three-bath house that cost $20,000 less than a similar one in Naples. My background was in the medical field and my husband worked for Toyota, so we saw opportunities everywhere that would allow us to use our skills and talents. I think my angel did a good job of guiding us in the right direction,” says Florio.
Shortly after settling into their new home, Florio read about a job fair at the Harborside Event Center in the Fort Myers News-Press. At the fair, the flaming red hair of a woman sitting at a booth in the corner of the convention center captured her attention. “I went directly to the booth, which was representing a local massage school. I thought, ‘New state and new home, why not a new career?’ In just a few moments, I knew I wanted to be a massage therapist,” advises Florio, a graduate of the Florida Academy of Massage and Skincare.
A strong desire to learn as much as possible about the massage business after she became a certified licensed massage therapist in 2003 led Florio to enroll in more than the required continuing education classes. “I wanted to be competent with tools and technologies that could help alleviate my clients’ pain,” comments Florio, who became a Blue Cross/Blue Shield provider in order to work with individuals that were in pain due to injuries from car accidents.
Today, Florio is a continuing education provider for the state of Florida and serves on the board of directors of the Heritage Institute. “I teach classes that massage therapists are required to take in order to renew their license. I also collaborate with other providers to organize a cruise and teach the classes on board. It’s a vacation combined with learning,” explains Florio.
In the beginning of her new career, Florio flew solo as a massage therapist, but her entrepreneurial spirit quickly nudged her in the direction of growth. Her first expansion occurred when she invited an esthetician to collaborate and offer European facials, microcurrent facelifts and permanent makeup. In 2008, while the Southwest Florida economy was in a slump, Florio took a big risk and further expanded her business into a destination day spa. She moved Contour Bodyworks into its present 3,000-square-foot location and added even more services, including colon hydrotherapy, teeth whitening, an infrared sauna, ionic foot detox, salt glow rubdowns with Dead Sea salt and essential oils, body wraps, deep tissue laser therapy, pulsating electromagnetic therapy and a weight-loss program.
Her most recent addition to the spa is Cavi-Lipo technology, which uses a high-frequency ultrasound cavitation wave to break down fat cells and liquefy them. In May, Florio expanded her business once again and opened Sculpted Beauty by Cavi-Lipo, LLC, in Bonita Springs. Spa services there not only include different styles of massage, facials and peels, but also anti-aging light emitting diode (LED) treatments, a weight-loss program and other natural therapies.
Florio fits perfectly into the definition of an entrepreneur. A doer with a field of dreams, she built one from scratch, and now they come.
Contour Bodyworks is located at 16120 San Carlos Blvd., Ste. 5, in Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-489-3063 or visit ContourBodyWorks.com. Sculpted Beauty by Cavi-Lipo is located at 26381 S. Tamiami Trail, Ste. 136, in Bonita Springs. For more information, call 239-221-0921 or visit SculptedBeauty.net.